by TDW President Tammie Hartgroves
Let’s take a little stroll down history lane: Votes for women were first seriously proposed in the United States in July, 1848, at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Women marched in the streets, chained themselves to the White House fence and went to jail in efforts to secure the right to vote for women.
On August 18, 1920, a young 24 year old representative from Tennessee named Harry Burn, did what his mother told him, “The right thing son is to give women a right to vote,” and thus he cast the tie breaking vote which made Tennessee the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Then on August 26, 1920 the 19th amendment became law and women could vote. One woman who attended that convention in Seneca Falls, NY was Charlotte Woodward. She was nineteen at the time. In 1920, when women finally won the vote throughout the nation, Charlotte Woodward was the only participant in the 1848 Convention who was still alive to be able to actually cast a ballot but due to ill-health she did not make it to her polling location. While going through some family mementos, I found copies of poll tax receipts that my maternal great grandmother and great aunts had paid to allow them the privilege of voting. Yes, women had to pay a poll tax to vote in Texas.
We owe these women a debt gratitude and we owe future Texas women a chance for a better life. The best way we can repay the debt and put a down payment on the future is to get Texas women to the polls this November – whether by mail, early voting or on election day.