Tennessee Gov. Albert H. Roberts (1868–1946) certifying the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 1920. Memphis suffragist Charl Williams stands watching. Photo credit: Nashville Tennessean (in the Tennessee State Library and Archives).

How Women Finally Got the Vote (with My Uncle’s Help)

The struggle to win the right to vote for women was far more dramatic than most people realize, and it turns out that my grandmother’s uncle played a key role.

According to family lore, A.H. Roberts passionately believed that women should have the right to vote. That belief is at odds with some sources, which will tell you he was a Johnny-come-lately to the suffragette party.

Tennessee Gov. A.H. Roberts

He was surrounded by competent, intelligent, well-educated women. The contrast between these women and some of the illiterate, shiftless men who enjoyed the vote simply because of their sex must have been profound.

The anti-suffrage women circulated pamphlets accusing all suffragists of being ‘atheistic feminists who rewrote the Bible,’ ‘destroyed the home,’ and ‘blackened the honor of Robert E. Lee.’

In the midst of the maelstrom, Gov. Roberts was turning out to be the most committed ratificationist of them all.

I have been writing for years but more recently transitioned to writing grants. I have published extensively in the past and am just getting up to speed again.

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