Johnson City TN Suffrage Centennial Celebration

Johnson City Suffragists


Mary Eliza Shaut White (Mrs. Hugh White)

Alpha Leona Richardson Sells (Mrs. George Sells)

   *Sister-in-law of Representative Sam Sells

Arabella Lyle, Johnson City Suffrage Club

Eunice Proctor (Mrs. E.K. Perkins)

   *Secretary, Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage

Mary Florence Ella Williams (Mrs. Captain Wm. Elbert Franklin Milburn)

   *President, JC Congressional Union for Woman  Suffrage

Martha C. Chandler Exum (Mrs. W. J. Exum)

Grace Armbrust (Mrs. L. Armbrust)

Margaret Powell (Mrs. Ferdinand Powell)

Lula Belle Milburn Divine (Mrs. Paul Divine)

Florence Metzger (Mrs. J. Preston Metzger)

Source: Tennessee State Museum Archives and Research by Tom Roberts

Perfect 36

Even though Congress passed the 19th Amendment in June 1919, it was not yet law. Constitutional amendments have to be approved, or ratified, by three quarters of the states. In 1920, there were 48 states. That meant that 36 states had to approve the 19th Amendment.

Each time a state voted to ratify the amendment, members of the National Woman’s Party sewed a star on their purple, white and gold Ratification Banner. It had room for 36 stars. When the last star was added, it would symbolize that the 19th Amendment was the law of the land. The last star was sewn on to the Ratification Banner on August 18, 1920 when Tennessee voted yes.



  • The gold color represents light and life. It is "the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving..."*The Suffragist, 1913


  • The color purple was chosen  for loyalty and steadfastness.


  • The white was selected as an emblem of purity.

Definition and Mission: An inclusive, non-partisan alliance honoring the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement focused on the  Johnson City and Tennessee stories. Our objectives are to educate our community and celebrate the winning of Women’s franchise.

Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote chronicles the dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment, and the years of debate about women's suffrage that preceded it. On the sweltering day of August 18, 1920, the House convened. After two consecutive 48-48 outcomes to table the resolution, it was put to a vote.


A Statue of Sue Shelton White, the only Tennessee woman jailed fighting for suffrage was unveiled on May 25, 2017, in front of the City Hall in Jackson, TN.



Dolly Parton Sings about the 19th Amendment

"The Woman's Hour" by Elaine Weiss, winner of the ABA 2019 Silver Gavel Award and subject of a  TV drama. Learn more at:

For the story on Harry Burn, the Respresentative who cast the deciding vote for women’s suffrage:

Governor Bill Lee's Proclamation that August 18, 2019 through August 18, 2020 will be known as the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial:

Additional videos on the suffrage movement in Tennessee: