The Right To Vote

On Sunday, we braved the cold and relentless wind to watch Johnson City’s latest art installation’s unveiling and dedication ceremony.

I wore red, white, and blue layers to keep me warm while standing in the biting wind. Similar current items are at the following links: BlazerCamisoleBlousePantsScarfHeelsBagMask

Organizers also held an abbreviated women’s suffrage parade before the event, which featured members of the coalition chanting, marching, and ringing bells down a short stretch of Ashe Street. The reenactment was inspired by a suffrage parade that traveled through downtown Johnson City on Oct. 7, 1916, which included a drum and fife band and ended with a pro-suffrage rally near Fountain Square.

Joy Fulkerson, director of leadership and civic engagement at ETSU, lead the presentation.

The Centennial Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Johnson City originated the project and formally unveiled the artwork during a Sunday afternoon ceremony. The mural titled “Passing the Torch” depicts figures in the women’s suffrage movement, including several women from East Tennessee who played key roles in advocating for the right to vote and ratifying the 19th Amendment. More information here.

The mural acknowledges that the crusade to secure enfranchisement for all women continued after the 19th Amendment’s ratification. It lists legislation approved in the following decades, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that worked to ensure women of color’s rights were also protected.

Linda Good, above at the podium, is the leader of the Johnson City Centennial Suffrage Celebration Coalition.

Artist Ellen Elmes (in the purple jacket), with assistance from her husband Don seated beside her, installed the mural. Other people seated in the reserved section are the direct descendants of some of the women depicted in the mural.

Located across the street from the Ashe Street Courthouse (below) at 398 Ashe St., the mural (above) shows early activists, including Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth, symbolically passing the torch across generations of suffragettes and into the future.

The kiosk shown below explains the mural in more detail. For more information about “Passing The Torch,” our newest art installation in Johnson City, TN, click here.

Nancy Fishman, our design director, is to the right of me in the photo above, the founder of Bravissima! my good friend Belinda Kiener is next, Linda Good is beside her, and to the far right in black and white, is the mayor of Johnson City, Jenny Brock. Bravissima! is a group of women who have made a yearly commitment to sponsor the Arts in our region. I’m proud to be a charter member of Bravissima! and happy that we could help sponsor this project. If you are local and would like more information about Bravissima!, contact Belinda at bravissima111@gmail.com for more information.

On Thursday, the subject will be “Unmentionables.” (the post will include bras, underwear, socks, stockings, lounge and sleepwear, lotion, and even perfume!) Shopping links on this website may provide a small commission to me at no additional cost to you.

30 Comments
  1. As a follower who lives in the United Kingdom I always find your images of your area and the wonderful facilities available to all so very interesting. Thank you.
    I live on the edge of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park which is stunningly beautiful but generally the UK doesn’t have the wonderful space you enjoy in the US.

  2. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. We forget how hard women fought for the right to vote 100 years ago. I know you are proud that Tennessee put the 19th Amendment cast the deciding vote for ratification. And it is wonderful to support the Arts. Thank you, Susan.

    1. The state senate voted to ratify, but in the state house of representatives, the vote resulted in a tie. A young man named Harry Burn cast the tie-breaking vote. A letter written by his mother influenced his vote. There was also a small reenactment of that exchange, but my photos didn’t come out well enough to share.

  3. Congratulations to all who were involved in this undertaking. Truly a beautiful work of art and a reminder to us all that the women’s Right to Vote was not “given”. It was fought for by many courageous women over many, many years.
    As a woman, I am forever grateful to them.
    Thank you, Susan, for this post.

  4. Thank you, Susan, for reminding us of our right to vote. I hope everyone will exercise this privilege we have today!
    Can’t wait for Thursday. Great topic!

  5. Thank you for explaining your city’s suffrage history which I found fascinating. I’m an Australian and we have a different suffrage history and also a totally different election process. The main difference I notice in our election process is that voting is compulsory here but voluntary in the US. There is also a different arrangement regarding how representatives are elected and how a government is formed.

    I wonder what effect compulsory voting has on the result? We are fined if we don’t vote and I’m sure some people just turn up and have their name crossed off the list before making a nonsense vote.

    In the end, I think we should be grateful for whatever version of Democracy we have.

    I won’t bore you with the details of our voting history but here is a link for those who are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffrage_in_Australia#:~:text=The%20colonies%20of%20Australia%20began,the%20age%20of%2018%20years.

  6. What a wonderful post. The mural is stunning and the message so apropos for the current events of the times we are living through.. May we all find peace, honesty, respect and civility going forward. Your outfit is beautiful Susan and now looking forward to Thursday’s post.

  7. Fabulous! Thank you Susan for your continued support of the arts and more importantly for sharing this tribute to those who fought so hard for the rights we cherish today. Keep up the good work!

  8. Bravo! Appreciate the efforts to acknowledge the hard work required to keep our voting rights activated. Voted a few weeks ago via mail in ballot. I’m reminding everyone, whatever the outcome of this election, the work is not done. So relax, enjoy your Election Voting Day, and remember there are more mail in ballots to count than the votes posted IN Person in 2016! Salute to the hard-working citizens processing our votes!

  9. What a fascinating article. I enjoyed learning about the suffrage history of your area. The mural is stunning. Ellen Elmes is a very talented artist. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing, Susan! When I lived in Southwest Virginia, some 30 years ago, I studied watercolor under Ellen Elmes. She is such a lovely person, and such an encourager for her students. I admire her beautiful murals throughout the region. What a treasure this mural will be for your community!

  11. Susan, I appreciate your posts about the history of women who have worked so hard for our recognition and simply the right to vote. I also have enjoyed your trips to view the Fall colors. Fall is my favorite time of year and due to the fires in Colorado and Covid I was not able to participate in an annual girls weekend in Estes Park, CO. We where observed beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park, the golden Aspen and the Elk. So your pictures gave me a sense of adventure I have been missing. Thank you for going to such lengths to giving us some beauty in our lives. Mary

  12. Susan, thank you for sharing this important and wonderful addition to the community. I am encouraged to be hopeful for more participation in civic life by all peoples.

  13. I am so proud to live in the first country in the world where women won the right to vote. And New Zealand has just voted in our amazing Jacinda Adern for her second term as Prime Minister.

  14. What an inspiring post you have today Susan. That mural is so thoughtful and it would take a while to look at it and grasp all that is included in it. Thank you for sharing.

  15. What a beautiful mural! So many amazing women blazed a trail for us. This brings those stories to the forefront. I think that most people have very little knowledge of the struggle our fore-mothers endured for our right to vote and for equality under the constitution. That struggle continues today as we pass this torch to our daughters.
    Thank you for sharing this and reminding me to be thankful to those brave women for their sacrifices.

  16. Susan – thank you for highlighting and supporting this important project – very impressed with Johnson City! These rights cannot be taken for granted, or they could be lost. I also need some positive news today…

  17. This was wonderful that you shared this with us. What a lovely and educational event. The mural is terrific and support for the arts is so necessary. Great!

  18. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for sharing “Passing the Torch, Honoring Women’s Suffrage. Nice, you are involved in a worthy cause.

    Katherine in Arizona

  19. What an inspirational piece of art. I can only pray our country will get back to a more peaceful coexistence. We the adults must set a good example for our children. Thank you for representing so well the history for women.

  20. Thank you so much for this lovely history. Your blog is delightful in its beauty, its depth and ideas for us. You help us live “our best life”.

    Today, no matter which side of the aisle you live on. . .say a prayer for our wonderful country, with gratitude for our freedom. Call a friend, or take a delicious nature walk.

  21. Good Morning, Susan,

    I am so enjoying your sharing your wonderful travels with us!!!! Loving your well-planned, gorgeous apparel and your interesting comments on the activities you share.

    May GOD continue blessing you and Mr. Mickey for our upcoming holidays!!!!
    Much love from TEXAS!!!

  22. Women got the vote in 1916 where I live, too, but it wasn’t until 13 years later that they were considered “persons” under the law. I don’t know what they were before then — chairs, trees, livestock? All this happened in my grandmothers’ lifetimes. I owe them a debt of gratitude for what their generation did, and it is repaid at every election when I vote.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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