March is Women’s History Month. In celebration, Wanda Sobieski will present The Legacy and Challenge of Suffrage on Monday, March 6, at 7 p.m., at the Blount County Public Library.
Sobieski, an attorney with Sobieski, Messer & Elledge, PLLC, and Coordinator of the Suffrage Coalition, a special project of the East Tennessee Foundation, contends that “understanding the bitter struggle helps [women] not only appreciate the right to vote, but also inspires us to repay our foremothers by dedicating ourselves to push forward the reforms necessary to make our political system a more perfect union.”
Sobieski says her “slide show documents the 72-year battle for ‘Woman Suffrage’ using authentic images and words from both sides of the ‘controversy’.”
Sobieski’s interest grew out of her activism in support of passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Surprised by the controversy surrounding the movement and motivated by a colleague’s observation of the parallels between the ERA efforts and the suffrage movement, Sobieski’s research led to the formation of the Suffrage Coalition to recognize Tennessee leaders and promote preservation of suffrage history.
The Suffrage Coalition, in turn, was responsible for:
- Erecting the Tennessee Woman Suffrage memorial on Knoxville’s Market Square,
- Digitizing records now available for world-wide research in the McClung Collection at the East Tennessee History Center (ETHC) in Knoxville,
- Locating and preserving suffrage memorabilia,
- Designing the “Burn Memorial,” honoring Febb Burn, and her son, Harry Burn, Sr., Tennessee legislator best known for casting the “aye” vote in 1920 that ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The memorial is proposed for the grounds of the ETHC.
Open to the public, this program is hosted by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville, where services are an example of your tax dollars at work for you. For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blounttn.org/197.