By Makala Greene
Women across the nation are celebrating the centennial year of their right to vote and in Tennessee the event is especially celebrated. In August of 1920, the state became the 36th state in the union to approve the 19th Amendment, which extended voting privileges to women.
As the nation is less than 80 days from the 2020 Presidential election, there’s great interest among Tennessee women, in part because of the 100th anniversary of the suffrage movement’s win.
First-time voter Cassie Barrett, 19, from Cookeville is entering her second year of college at Tennessee Tech. Barrett can’t believe women were denied the right to vote for more than a century after America was formed. “There should have never been a time when women couldn’t vote,” she said. Her mother Lisa Barrett, 51, agreed. “I am thankful we live in a time where we can vote,” she said.
Davida Johnson, 23, of Houston, Texas, who works at Advent Broadcasting said she’s not surprised. ”In the past there were a lot of rights taken away from women, especially women of color.” Women were at one time belittled, told they were nothing and just assumed as lesser by men, Johnson noted. “I am thankful things are different now, but there are still a lot of changes that need to be made.”
“People in power, in this case white, able-bodied men, tend to cling to what will serve them the most whether out of avarice or ignorance,” said first-time voter Marisa Graham, 21, of Murfreesboro, where she attends Middle Tennessee State University.
Casting a ballot for the first time is a momentous event, one never forgotten, said retiree Kathy Johnson, 65, of Greeneville. She remembered the day she voted for the first time in 1975. “It was a special time for me, because I was young and thought I was expressing my voice by voting in the election for president,” Johnson said.
Sharon Amyx, 67, also of Greeneville was older when she started voting at the young age of 47, and she has voted ever since. She recalls her first time voting as a time that her voice was finally able to be heard.