Johnson City TN Suffrage Centennial Celebration



The mural as depicted above, installed by Artist Ellen Elmes during the month of September,  will be presented to Mayor Jenny Brock and the community as a gift from The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration Coalition of Johnson City, Bravissima! Women Sponsoring the Arts, and the Johnson City Public Arts Committee on November 1st at 2:30 pm.


View the livestream here!


Following a procession of Coalition participants in Suffragist attire and segments that replicate the October 7, 1916 Johnson City Suffrage parade, historical vignettes will be presented by girls from Girls, Inc. of Johnson City. Also appearing will be Harry Burn and his mother, Febb Burn. Mr. Burn changed his vote at the behest of his mother on August 18, 1920 to make the state of Tennessee the “Perfect 36”—the necessary state to ratify the 19th Amendment. The program will last approximately 45 minutes.


 CDC and local health and safety guidelines requiring masks and social distancing will be followed.


 Depicted in three stages, the design  honors the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement with a focus on the Johnson City and Tennessee stories. It commemorates the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment through the celebration of a diverse and cohesive movement that continues to impact the social standing of women in our society today.


This mural centers around an artistic rendering of an historic march held in Johnson City on October 7, 1916. The design features portraits of many of Johnson City’s leading suffrage activists as well as national and local leaders in relevant movements; creating visual bridges as phases [phases are further explained below] from the early Suffragist ancestors onward through other enfranchisement activists ultimately leading to a diverse grouping of current people who have benefited from their sacrifices. No currently living people are depicted.


The mural also recognizes the fact that the 19th amendment did not grant all women the right to vote as it depicts four stages of legislation that impacted enfranchisement during the 20th century. Seen as a “passing of the torch,” beginning with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, the mural illustrates the Snyder Act of 1924, which gave citizenship to First Nations people; the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952, which allowed people of Asian descent to immigrate and become citizens; and the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which made voting restrictions to African American voters illegal. 


For more on artist Ellen Elmes visit her at:




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Passing the Torch: Honoring Women’s Suffrage

Definition and Mission: The Centennial Celebration Coalition is 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.