As the nation approaches the centennial of the 19th Amendment, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, standing in the former residence of Abby Crawford Milton, Chattanooga’s most famous suffrage worker, announced the leadership appointment of Chattanooga and Hamilton County’s Yellow Rose Centennial Committee.
Prior to the announcement, County Mayor Coppinger recalled the significance of Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, noting that the Volunteer State provided the Perfect 36 - - the required 36 of the 48 states or ¾ necessary for passage according to our U. S. Constitution. While Tennessee was the important Perfect 36, that vote came after a long fight between the yellow rose legislators supporting the amendment and the red rose legislators who opposed women’s suffrage.
Ms. Milton, president of the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Movement, provided much of the leadership that resulted in the Tennessee General Assembly passage of the 19th Amendment - - by one vote. That vote was cast by McMinn County’s Harry Burn who had earlier made history by being the youngest man ever elected to the Tennessee State Legislature at the age of 22. Mr. Burn cast the deciding vote and it was the efforts of Ms. Milton and other suffrage members that made sure the measure passed.
Ms. Milton, an attorney by profession, traveled across this state for months, rallying women and men to support the right of women to vote and actively participate in the government of their communities, state and nation. She was tireless; she wrote newspaper articles, authored and delivered speeches on the steps of county courthouses, in churches and at women’s meetings and lobbied every single member of the General Assembly. Stories are told of her doggedly pursuing legislators to the door of the men’s room, only to stand outside waiting until they had to come out. She was organized and fearless but she was kind and persuasive. She organized Chattanooga’s women, both white and black because suffrage and an end to segregation were viewed as twin pillars in the fight for equal rights.
The county mayor affirmed Hamilton County’s commitment to honoring Ms. Milton and all those individuals who supported the expansion of political rights by appointing the official Chattanooga-Hamilton County 19th Amendment Centennial Celebration Chairmen [The Yellow Rose Centennial Committee], acknowledging that each member of the leadership team was a recognized community leader. “Together they will be a force for commemorating Chattanooga and Hamilton County’s role in our state and national history,” said County Mayor Coppinger. “You can expect to see events that will educate, engage, commemorate and celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment. They are already hard at work, in many cases coordinating events with the official Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Committee, chaired by State Rep. Robin Smith, Hamilton County.”
The Yellow Rose Centennial Committee leaders are:
Marcy Eason: Ms. Eason is a litigation attorney and member in Miller and Martin, PLLC. Appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court, she served as the chair of Tennessee’s Access to Justice Commission, and as chair of the Court Environment Subcommittee reporting to the Racial and Ethnic Fairness, and Gender Fairness Judicial System Commissions. Ms. Eason is past president of Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women. She has been recognized with Pro Bono Excellence awards from Legal Aid of East Tennessee and as the 2017 SETLAW Lioness of the Bar. She is a contributor to the Perfect 36 association.
Lynda Minks Hood: Ms. Hood is the executive director of the Chattanooga Bar Association, serves as the chairman of the Erlanger Health Systems Foundation Board and on the Executive Committee of Chattanooga’s Women of Distinction. She advocates for community campaigns throughout the Chattanooga area, including having served as chair of the Erlanger ‘Believe’ Gala, the American Cancer Society’s Gala of Hope and on the board of the Women’s Fund of Chattanooga. Ms. Hood is a NSDAR Community Service Award recipient, recognizing her community leadership.
Linda Moss Mines: Ms. Mines is the official Chattanooga and Hamilton County historian, represents Southeast Tennessee on the Tennessee Historical Commission and is regent of the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR, serving as a TSDAR committee chair and NSDAR committee vice-chair. She is the chairman of the Hamilton County Bicentennial Celebration Committee, secretary of the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council and serves on the Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial. Ms. Mines is secretary, Board of Trustees, Erlanger Health Systems.