SUFFRAGE VICTORY IS CELEBRATED;
WOMEN GIVE BANQUET TO SOLONS
WHO WERE RATIFICATION BOOSTERS
Senators and Representatives of Knox and Other East Tennessee
Counties Guests of Honor.—Mrs. George Fort Milton and Representative Harry Burn Deliver Chief Addresses.—Echoes From
Contest In Nashville, and History of Suffrage Movement is Reviewed.—Spirit of Political Alignments and Preferments Expected Among Women as Well as In Ranks of Men.-—Mrs. L. C.
Now that they've got it what are
they going to do with it?
Such has been the query of many indifferent and the vitally opposed to
women's right to exercise the ballot.
But there is no doubt in the minds
of some women as to what they are
going to with it. Such were women
attending the "Victory Banquet"
given Tuesday evening at the Woman's building in special compliment
to the members of the legislature
from East Tennessee who cast their
votes for ratification at the recent
special session of the legislature.
"The New Citizenship" was the
keynote of the talks of the evening,
and each speaker referred to the new
freedom and emancipation of women
with its consequent responsibilities,
privileges and opportunities.
Mrs. L. C. French, who was identified with the suffrage struggle since
its inception in Tennessee, presided
as the toastmistress of the evening. Mrs. French was attired in
black lace, and with this costume
wore a banner of yellow, purple and
white, the colors of the National
Woman's Party. She had worn this
banner on the occasion of her interview with Gov. Cox and Senator
Harding as a member of the committee of women selected by Miss Alice
Paul, national chairman of the woman's party.
Senator Houk Speaks First
Shortly after the guests had been
seated at the tables, and while the
first course was being served, Mrs.
L. C. French, the toastmistress, announced that Senator John C. Houk
one of the guests of honor, must leave
the meeting early in the evening, and
therefore he would speak at this
time. Senator Houk, who was slightly indisposed, spoke briefly.
"I have been in the midst of the
battle for the past ten years," he
said in referring to his efforts on behalf of the cause of women's suffrage. "The proudest moments of
my life came when I wrote the suffrage plank in the progressive platform of 1912. I was laughed at then.
But this plank passed the republican
convention in 1916, four years before
it. was included in the democratic
platform in 1920. I have stood for
suffrage for ten years and I still
stand for it. I believe that if I had
not stood as firmly and as loyally
as I did stand, that it would not have
passed. If Senator Patton and I had
diverted our influence, the bill would
not have passed. It is the proudest
heritage that I have, that I have been
a factor in giving women the liberties
to which they were entitled. There
never was a man who could issue
an argument against woman suffrage.
A woman is a human being."
Senator Houk concluded his brief
talk with praise of "Madame Catt"
who is a national and international
figure, in the realms of suffrage.
Mrs. French Speaks
Mrs. French was the second speaker. "Pioneers" was the general
theme of her talk in which she gave
unstinted praise to the work of Susan
B. Anthony, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw
Frances E. Willard, Mrs. Elizabeth
Lyle Saxon, of Memphis, and Mrs.
Lide Meriwether, of Memphis. Mrs.
French was generous in her praise
of the work of the W. C. T. U.
leaders, whom she said had been most
valuable exponents of suffrage as
they realized that they could attain
many of their desires through the
ballot. In speaking of Dr. Mary
Shaw, she remarked that she was the
greatest woman speaker she had ever heard, and had almost uncanny
powers of presiding over a mass
meeting, despite the fact that Mrs.
Shaw was no parliamentarian. "I
never knew her to make a mistake.
I heard her and Mrs. Emmaline
Pankhurst on the same program one
evening, and both were mild, sweet,
charming, not hasty, and had tne
power of converting all who heard
them," said she.
Mrs. French concluded her talk
with references to anti-suffrage literature that had been sent her, which
she said she would distribute if there
was a request for it.
On a large purple and white banner
above Mrs. French was this legend:
"The Immortals 25x50—1." Ex-
plained by Mrs. French this means
the twenty-five senators, the fifty
representatives in the lower house,
minus Seth Walker.
On a second banner hung below
this top streamer were printed the
names of Susan B. Anthony, Dr.
Anna Howard Shaw, Frances E.
Willard, Mrs. Lide Meriwether and
Mrs. Elizabeth Lyle Saxon, to which
Mrs. French also made fitting reference.
Harry T. Burn's Address.
Representative Harry T. Burn of
McMinn county, who changed his
vote in the final roll call, was by far
the most popular gentleman speaker
of the evening.
In presenting Mr. Burn, Mrs. French
said: "I will now ask Mr. Burn to
tell us what he really got out of the
situation, as a result of casting his
vote for suffrage ratification."
In response, Mr. Burn stated that it
had indeed been a great privilege to
him finally to support suffrage, and
that he emerged from the fight with
a "clear conscience." Continuing he
"To the chairman, and to the organizations represented, permit me to
say that I appreciate the honor you
do me by inviting me to be present
"And it is with much pleasure that
I salute those who have acquired 'The
New Citizenship' as 'Fellow citizens In
the truest sense!"
"The opportunity given the women
of America, of Tennessee, of Knox-
ville, and to the individual, to assist
in placing higher standards in the
political world, and to institute needed moral reforms, will not be neglected.
The interest being manifested
proves this assertion to be true.
Do not understand me to predict
great reforms as sweeping the country in a short period, but that with
tho ballot as a weapon the correcting
measures will gradually be applied
by the entire citizenship, men and
'The credit for the great reform
that produces the opportunity for the
women to share her portion in the
struggles that will be fought by
means of the ballot, belongs to the
women themselves, and it is to them
that the suffrage service medal
should be given.
"I am pleased that fate gave me an
opportunity to have a small part in
making Tennessee 'The Perfect 36th,'
but the fact should be recognized that
right ultimately triumphs and if Tennessee had not acted then some other
state woud have done so. To the
credit of the Volunteer States let it
be said that the majority of the men
in the governing body made of Tennessee a Guiding Star to the women
of America who were seeking political
"Since 'The New Citizenship' is the
attaining of political liberty, we may
expect personal, domestic, educational
and economic rights, for women, to
follow in rapid succession. These will
ultimately make this—world a better
place in which to live.
"You all have heard the fear expressed that the good women will not
vote. Let me say that the women
will not, as they never have, endeavored to escape the performance of
duty and to vote is now a duty. And
the mothers will not cast their ballot
with only the present to be thought of
but for the good of coming generations as well.
Hopes For Better Schools.
"If the new citizenship would result in only one thing—better schools,
then it would be worth while. Ignorance is what endangers America today. Proper education so that each
would understand would do much to
abolish the strife between capital and
labor, and solve many other troublesome problems. To those who claim
they fear that social legislation supported by the mothers of America will
cause unreasonable tax budgets, let
me say that the cost of saving American civilization for the world can
not be valued in dollars and cents.
"There are many things I would
like to say to you but I have a motto
that I try to keep before me when attempting to talk to others; and that
motto is 'Waste not the time of others
by trying to tell them something they
already know.' [N]aturally, this motto
causes me to take very little of the
time of this audience!
"I would enjoy telling you what I
see in the future of America because
of the influence for good that has
recently been liberated—for I am
somewhat of a dreamer—but the
problems that confront us are stern
facts; questions requiring an immediate answer; and I am confident
the enlightened womanhood of Am-
erica are capable of giving the right
answer in each instance.
"Therefore I would congratulate
you on the victory you have won and
for the great good you will do by being a part of the governing power it
this great nation!"
No Violation of Constitution
Dr. John R. Neal, of the faculty
of the college of law of the University
of Tennessee explained the legal aspect of the ratification of suffrage
saying that there was no violation
of the Tennessee constitution, as the
clause in the state constitution conflicted with a clause in the federal
constitution and was therefore automatically null and void as the federal
constitution has supremacy and cannot be overriden by a clause in a state
In a facetous and very humorous
talk, Senator E. E. Patton, who is
one of the best friends the suffragists
have ever had, said that he'd just
like to have seen King Solomon in
these days of women's rights- "Why,
with the votes of his thousand wives
he could have carried any convention
and could have elected all his candidates," he said. Later in his address he stated that ratification of
suffrage marked the wiping away of
one of the old landmarks of time
and opened the way for new visions,
new dreams and new realizations.
"When I saw the tactics of some
of the suffragists a few years ago
in Washington, I wondered if suffrage
would be good for women. I had
favored giving them the vote, until
I saw these actions. Then I got to
thinking the matter over some more
and I decided that there was no reas-
on why all the women should be held
responsible for the acts of a few
reckless women," he said.
Senator Patton gave a most inte-
resting account of the tactics of the
anti-suffragists, speaking of their
ubiquitous press agent who he said,
knew all the news before it happened.
"But right here I want to say that
I have never seen a group of women
who were more modest, tactful and
well behaved than the group or suffrage workers who attended the special session of the legislature in
Nashville," said he.
Mrs. George F- Milton a Speaker
Mrs. George F. Milton, president
of the League of Women Voters, for
the stato, was one of the very popular
speakers of the evening. She told
of the manner in which women were
receiving the vote, and hinted at some
of the things they meant to accomplish in the first few years of tneir
Mrs. Milton praised the efforts of
the legislators in behalf of suffrage.
Her address is printed in full elsewhere.
Defends Women Lobbyists
Mrs. Chas. A. Weaver spoke of the
women lobbyists at Nashville. "They
were mothers seeking better protection for their children," she
said. "Some of them were school
teachers and interested in a movement for better schools. Then
there were business women who said
they wanted the ballot to improve
working conditions for women. They
were the highest type of women."
Miss Kate White, recently retired
president of the Woman's Building
board, Mrs. T. P. Miller, chairman
of the Non-Partisan League. Mrs.
J. S. Craft, of the W. C. T.U., and
Mrs. Martha Baker of the Business
and Professional Women's club each
spoke briefly, giving an idea of what
the members of their respective organizations expected to accomplish
with the judicious use of the ballot.
Miss Mamie Harrigan presdient (sic.) of
the Newman Circle spoke for her
organization, whose members have
been active in the interest of suffrage.
For Knox County Women
Mrs. French announced that the
lady who had been asked to speak
for the democratic women of Knox
county had just informed her that
"she is too timid to speak." Whereupon Mrs. French called upon Mrs
Eleanor Albers Phillips of Memphis,
a former Knox county woman, to
speak to this subject. Mrs. Phillips
made an interesting talk, in which
she credited the democratic party
with the suffrage victory, and also
spoke of party affiliations among
women as well as among men as being a logical consequence of suffrage.
Frank L. West, county tax assessor, was introduced to speak for
the republican women of the county.
He took issue with Mrs. Phillips as
to the credit belonging to the democracy for the suffrage victory in
Tennessee. He related that when he
was in the state legislature he had
introduced measures looking to enfranchisement of women in this state
and that these measures had been
killed through aggressiveness of
democrats. He said it would have
been impossible for suffrage to have
won at Nashville in August without
the support of republicans, as too
many democrats opposed it.
Wade Had to be Heard
Mrs. French announced that it
would not be possible to call upon
each of the legislators to speak, although they were the guests of honor.
However, she said, they would be
formally presented to the assembly
if they would rise as their names
were called. She then recited
names of the gentlemen of the s[en]-
ate and house seated at a table
the center of the room.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.