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The Passing of the 19th Amendment- Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage History
In August of 1920, Tennessee’s 33 Senators and 99 Representatives came to Nashville for a special session called by the Governor. At stake was a hotly contested issue of national importance - the women’s right to vote. From all across the United States, leaders, special interest groups, and news journalists arrived as all eyes of the nation were on Tennessee. This dramatic, make-or-break-it legislative vote came down to Tennessee as the last essential state left to decide to ratify, or nullify, the 19th Amendment.
The Hermitage Hotel had been a headquarters for state politics since it opened in 1910. Just a block from the magnificent state Capitol, both Pro- and Anti-Suffrage groups headquartered at the hotel for six weeks leading up to the final vote. Its 250 guest rooms & suites, lobby, meeting rooms, and dining room were filled-to-overflowing with Pro- and Anti-campaigners. They called it “The War of the Roses.” The Anti-Ratification forces, led by women wearing red roses, were squared off against the yellow-rose-wearing Pro-Suffrage campaigners. Yet as neither side was able to vote, the legislators had to be convinced.
As the hotel was a favorite spot for legislators, their votes were influenced, argued, and strategized to an intense degree within its halls. A fundamental right was at stake, one that had been advocated for since 1848, and one that would impact nearly twenty-seven million women. The heated debates progressed in the state Capitol for eight days. Ultimately, it was a single tie-breaking vote that tipped the scales - a shining example that one vote truly does matter! When it was finished, the United States Constitution was forever amended. The 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution was successfully passed on August 18, 1920 and signed into law on August 26th, giving women the right to vote across the country. As we approach August 2020, the centennial anniversary of Women's Suffrage, we celebrate this momentous period in history & our role in its story.
It Happened Here Then, It's Still Happening Here Now
Since The Hermitage Hotel served as an integral backdrop during the fight toward women’s suffrage, we are excited to host a series of events, exhibits, and offerings leading up to the centennial anniversary in August 2020.
Historic Nook Women’s Suffrage Takeover - August 2019 through August 2020 in the Grand Lobby Explore a display of The Hermitage Hotel’s private collection of historic artifacts dating from the summer of 1920, when both Pro and Anti Suffrage leaders were headquartered in the hotel. This display will be located in the lobby next to the front desk and will be open for all to see throughout the centennial year.
Suffrage-Themed Craft Cocktail Menu - August 2019 through August 2020 at Oak Bar In the summer of 1920, Pro and Anti Suffragists lobbied the men of Capitol Hill for the right to vote inside the Oak Bar beneath The Hermitage Hotel. Although forbidden by prohibition, many legislators and lobbyists winked at the 18th Amendment while fighting for and against the 19th. Travel back in time to the final battleground of Women’s Suffrage and honor this unique moment in history for an immersive tasting experience inside the storied Oak Bar. Each cocktail is hand-crafted to fit the personality of Nashville's most prominent Suffrage leaders. Be sure to experience the Carrie!
Suffrage Tea Series - Summer 2020 The beginnings of the Women’s Suffrage Movement started over a simple afternoon tea amongst five women discussing moral and political injustices towards women. Soon, it became the launching platform as the movement gained momentum, allowing women a place to gather and organize their efforts in advancing the cause. Now, a century later we invite both visitors and locals alike to experience a suffrage tea in our Veranda and learn about the events that transpired inside our hotel leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Capitol Grille 1920 Dinner Features - Summer 2020 at Capitol Grille Executive Chef Derek Brooks will feature culinary delights dating back to the 1920s throughout summer 2020 in The Hermitage Hotel’s stalwart restaurant, Capitol Grille. These throwback dishes will give a taste of what Suffrage leaders and politicians of the time enjoyed as they worked to pass the 19th Amendment. Chef Brooks will collaborate with our gardener at Glen Leven, Sarah Bush, to feature heirloom varieties of legumes dating back to the Suffrage period.
Summer 2020 Female Artist Music Series - First Fridays of June, July, and August 2020 in the Grand Lobby A special lineup of local Nashville women musicians will be invited to perform on the first Friday of each summer month. Appreciate Nashville’s treasured female talent in the historic Grand Lobby of The Hermitage Hotel.
Yellow Rose Gala - August 2020 Join The Hermitage Hotel for a spectacular evening celebrating the centennial anniversary for Women’s Suffrage in the heart of where the final battle happened. This ticketed, multi-course dinner and will feature notable female chefs from across the country to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
And more to come!
The Hermitage Hotel is excited to participate in and support various larger celebration events throughout the city during the centennial year. Additional details regarding each activation, plus information on more forthcoming events held at the hotel, will be announced in the coming weeks and months.