Differences Arising Over Selection of Convention City
Special to The Knoxville Sentinel
MEMPHIS, May 22.—The trouble in
the suffrage ranks of Tennessee shows
no signs of abatement. Each side in
the controversy is insisting that it is
right. As a result the national con-
ention may not be held in Tennessee,
several of the local associations of the
state threaten to withdraw from the
wing of the national organization and
form an independent southern association, and the legality of the election of
Mrs. L. Crozier French, Knoxville, as
head of the Tennessee association, is
about to be questioned, says Anne Spencer in the News-Scimitar.
Claims of irregularities have filled the
air, and the fight, which many seem
willing to admit is really just starting,
has already put to shame some of the
memorable political feuds that have in
years past shaken the state from end
The whole matter now seems to be up
to the executive committee of the national association. There appears to be
some hitch here also, for while Mrs.
French and Mrs. Guilford Dudley, president of the Nashville association, claim
that the national executive committee
has indorsed the action of the majority
of the state committee in selecting
Nashville as the next meeting place, lo-
cal suffrage leaders are equally sure that
no final action in the matter has been
Mrs. J. M. McCormack, president of
the Memphis Equal Suffrage association,
and vice-president at large for the state
organization, has been in close communication with Mrs. Desha Breckenridge, of
Lexington, Ky., second vice-president of
the national association, and Mrs. Breckenridge, she says, has not been called
on to vote upon the meeting place.
Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of
the national association, is in Rome, attending the International Congress of
Women; Miss Jane Addams, vice-president of the association, is closely confined to her home by the severe illness
of her mother; so that Mrs. Breckenridge at present is the presiding officer of the association, and it is a little
extraordinary, it is claimed, that she
should not be aware of the action of
the executive committee, of which she
is chairman protem, in selecting Nashville as the meeting place of the association. If such action has been taken
it is without her knowledge and consent,
it is said.
Deadlock started Row.
The present strife between the suffragists of the state is of comparatively
recent date and grew out of the announcement by the national association
that the next convention would be held
in Tennessee, leaving the selection of
the city, however, to be decided by
the Tennessee association. Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville at once put
in bids for the gathering and the fight
The claims of these three cities were
left to the members of the state executive board and balloting by mail began. In the meantime Miss Sarah Elliott, of Sewanee, president of the association, had tendered her resignation
to the executive board, and Mrs. McCormack, vice-president at large, had
Several ballots were taken, resulting
in a tie between Nashville and Chattanooga, each city receiving four votes.
Then two other ballots resulted in a tie
between Memphis and Nashville. There
are two Nashville women on the executive board and two Jackson women.
Jackson has supported the claims of
Nashville from the beginning, and one
of the members from Jackson announced
her determination to "stand by Nashville till the cows come home."
Realizing the impossibility of breaking
the deadlock and acting on the advice
of the secretary of the national society,
Mrs. McCormack took the matter out of
the hands of the executive board and
submitted it to the leagues throughout
the state, at the same time notifying the
board members of her action, and calling a meeting for the purpose of canvassing the returns.
At the meeting held in Memphis last
week there were present two Nashville
women and two Jackson women. As
there were only six members of the committee present, this gave Nashville a
clear majority on the board.
Secretary on "Strike."
In a detailed account of this meeting,
Mrs. McCormack says that Mrs. Dudley
instructed the secretary to refuse to
record the votes of the suffrage leagues
of the state, which gave a two-thirds
majority for Chataanooga (sic).
Thereupon Mrs. McCormack called in
Miss Frances Church, who acted as secretary pro tem.
In the election which followed Mrs.
McCormack and Mrs. French were both
nominated for president. Mrs. McCormack withdrew, thus leaving Mrs. French
the only candidate in the field. Her
election, however, was not unanimous,
for both Mrs. McCormack and Miss Price,
president of the Morristown league,
voted against her, thus registering their
disapproval of the choice of the other
members of the committee.
Later in the day Mrs. French called a
second meeting of the executive committee, ignoring Mrs. McCormack and
Miss Price in the call, reversed the action of the previous meeting, and declared Nashville the choice of the state
as the meeting place of the national con-
Local suffragists say that the whole proceeding was out of order, since Mrs
McCormack had been sustained in her
ruling that the leagues of the state
should be allowed to decide by their
vote which city should be selected, and
these leagues had by a large majority
chosen Chattanooga. Mrs. French her-
self consented to this plan of voting,
and sent in the vote of the Knoxville
league for Nashville. Only the Nashville league and the Jackson league refused to vote. However, even had they
voted, Chattanooga would still have won.
According to prominent members of
both suffrage associations in Memphis,
it was unconstitutional for the second
meeting, which was irregular, to r[everse]
the action of the first meeting
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