Today is Women's Equality Day, commemorating the passage of the nineteenth amendment on August 26th1920.  On August 19th of that year Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and final state to ratify the amendment after congress passed it on June 4th 1919.  The road was a long one.  The original pioneers of the women's suffrage movement held the first ever women's rights convention in Seneca Falls on July 19th 1848.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Motts were two abolitionists who joined forces to issue the "Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances," a proclamation of women's rights.  Many members of this first generation of suffragettes would not live to see their dream realized.  It was up to a second generation, including Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, among others who would see the movement through to fruition.  They organized the first ever march on Washington in 1913 to draw attention to their cause.  It seems commonplace now, but created quite a stir in that day.  The procession route was mobbed by hecklers and spectators, but marchers continued on.  There were over 200 injuries sustained during the mobbing.  The participants were very successful in drawing media attention.  These women still had a seven year fight ahead of them.  The organized road tours, national and local organizations of women, lobbied congress and protested outside the White House.  These protesters were called silent sentinels and held signs meant to shame President Woodrow Wilson.  They started their protests in 1917.  They were lead by Alice Paul of the National Women't Party.  Eventually the women were arrested and charged with obstructing traffic and jailed. After repeated incarceration and mistreatment Alice Paul began a hunger strike.  She was force fed through a tube, enduring unthinkable conditions. Lucy Burns was force fed  through her nose. The movement was not perfect, abandoning the black men and women who fought with them in order to get their cause passed sooner.   

In honor of these brave women, the Hope Yellow Trail Museum and Main Street of Hope will host their own suffrage rally to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of women's suffrage on Saturday September 26th in conjunction with the Studebaker car show.  Participants are invited to make their own votes for women sash at the museum from 10:00 am until 12:00.  Children will also be able to craft their own eighteen inch doll sash.  Deb Slone will present her suffrage program at noon, and the march around the square will follow. Lunch will be served at Willow Leaves after the march.  Marchers and hecklers are needed! Costumes are not required, but are encouraged.  Honor those who fought seventy-two years and make sure you vote this year.