Exhibits commemorating women’s suffrage movement open at Delta Heritage Center

BROWNSVILLE TN (August 17, 2020):  The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center presents two new exhibits,  To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote and Rightfully Hers. Both exhibitions commemorate the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the women’s suffrage movement.  The temporary exhibitions will be on display August 18 through October 18, 2020.

“These displays are extraordinarily special because they remind us of the tribulation and eventual triumph women experienced in order to obtain equal rights to vote,” says Adriana Dunn, museum curator. “We are so excited to have these displayed in the center and featured in our museum’s programming for the next eight weeks.”

Memphis Suffrage Parade, 1910s, courtesy of the Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library & Information Center.

To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote, was created in partnership with the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives with funding provided by The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial. The project is also funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It explores the history of the woman’s suffrage movement, Tennessee’s dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the years that followed.

The exhibition is constructed of multiple dynamic panels, offering guests a touch-free experience of archival images, engaging stories and introductions to the leaders of the fight for and against the cause of woman’s suffrage. The stories begin by detailing the early challenges of racial and gender discrimination and continuing to the organization of African American and white women’s associations to encourage political engagement. The exhibit includes a Tennessee map, highlighting suffragist activities across the state.

“Tennessee’s role in becoming the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment not only solidified women’s right to vote but propelled women across the country to opportunities and futures they never thought possible,” said Chuck Sherrill, State Librarian and Archivist with the Tennessee State Library & Archives.

Rightfully Hers, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment,  contains simple messages exploring the history of the ratification, women’s voting rights before and after the 19th, and its impact today.

Despite decades of marches, petitions, and public debate to enshrine a woman’s right to vote in the constitution, the 19th Amendment – while an enormous milestone – did not grant voting rights for all. The challenges of its passage reverberate to the ongoing fight for gender equity today.

The exhibitions can be seen Tuesday – Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm, and Sundays 1-5 pm, through October 18, 2020. For more information about the exhibit, contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.

About the Center: The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, in Brownsville, offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. An official Tennessee Music Pathways location, the  Delta Heritage Center is also a featured stop along the Americana Music Triangle connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.