“The movement for woman suffrage may have been a national one, but the best measure of what women were able to do with those hard-won ballots is not the enactment of federal legislation or the election of women to office. Instead, we should measure the weight of their votes where they did – in their own communities and state legislatures.” – Lorraine Gates Schuyler, The Weight of Their Votes, 2006.
All history begins with local history
In 2016, Chick History travelled across the state to empower history professionals and build a network of museum and history professionals committed to better women’s history. More than 160 attendees from over 80 organizations participated in Chick History Bootcamps, a one-day training program for women’s history, professional development and networking.
Now it’s time to look to family history and begin protecting the legacy. A critical issue facing women’s history writ-large is that a majority of objects and material are still in private and family collections. Without this history, we’ll never have the full picture of what happened.
Working with diverse communities, we dedicate our next phase of March to the 19th to uncovering and preserving stories related to suffrage and voting history in Tennessee. In an effort to expand the narrative of suffrage in the state, we will seek out local, lesser-known stories with a primary focus on African American women’s histories.
Collection Methodology and Scope
To help develop this phase of March to the 19th, we built a statewide task force comprised of technical and subject-matter experts:
- Dr. Noelle Trent, National Civil Rights Museum – Chair
- Andrea Blackman, Nashville Public Library
- Genny Carter, Tennessee State Library & Archives
- Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, University of Memphis
- Renee Kesler, Beck Cultural Exchange Center
- Dr. Susan Knowles, Center for Historic Preservation, MTSU
- Dr. Learotha Williams, Tennessee State University
The task force began work in November 2016 and completed its findings and recommendations in September 2017.
Phase II Work Has Begun
Phase II: Protecting the Legacy has a dedicated website with articles, event information, and how to get involved. Visit protect.chickhistory.org to learn more and get involved.