- After decades of struggle and protest by suffragettes across the country, it all came down to a dramatic battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives.By March of 1920, just one more state was needed to ratify the 19th Amendment in order for it to become law. The Tennessee General Assembly took up the question in August, and suffragists and anti-suffragists bore down on Nashville. The State Senate voted convincingly to ratify, but the House failed to do so twice, by two votes of 48 to 48. State Rep. Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old from McMinn County, was one of the “nay” votes. Reportedly, he had intended to vote for ratification but had been persuaded not to by telegrams from his constituents and members of his party. Just as a third vote was set to begin, Burn received a letter from his mother, Febb Ensminger Burn, that read, in part, “Hurrah and vote for Suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt … I’ve been watching to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet … Don’t forget to be a good boy.”On the third vote, Burn changed his mind. Thanks to his single vote, the House approved the amendment, Tennessee ratified it, and the Constitution was changed ratifying the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920.
This episode will be dramatized as if being reported by broadcast journalists. The names of actual reporters of the day will be used and as much as possible, the reporting will be in the vernacular of the era.