Congressman Cohen Commemorates Tennessee’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment

August 18, 2020
Press Release
100th anniversary of the Tennessee General Assembly vote giving U.S. “the Perfect 36th”

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who as a Tennessee State Senator sponsored legislation to create and served on the Women’s Suffrage Commission for the 75th anniversary and championed the public art inside the state Capitol in recognition of Tennessee’s historic role in ratifying the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and women’s right to vote on this date in 1920, today commemorated the 100th anniversary of the occasion and made the following statement:

“Tennessee’s historic vote 100 years ago today ratified the 19th Amendment and realized the aspiration of generations of women in America to exercise their right to vote. While we remember the principled tie-breaking vote by Representative Harry Burn on this date, it’s important every day to recognize the sacrifice of women throughout our history who fought for women’s suffrage. That’s why we have a Women’s Suffrage Commission and why it is important to have a permanent symbol of our role in ratifying the 19th Amendment where our legislators meet. I thank Paula Casey, the brainchild – and grandmother, mother and daughter -- of efforts recalling this auspicious occasion.”

Paula F. Casey, co-founder of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, said in a statement that Congressman Cohen, as a State Senator, “understood the importance of public art and worked with the Tennessee Arts Commission to hold a blind competition” for work ultimately chosen, the bas relief by Alan LeQuire now displayed between the House and Senate chambers in the Capitol. “He (Cohen) was really the reason we have the public art,” she said this week.

Congressman Cohen is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties which has jurisdiction over voting rights. In 2019, he chaired the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years and later presided at a hearing on restoring critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act undermined in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court.