Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 17, 2020

Bar Association going virtual for Law Day 2020

Linda Moss Mines, left, historian for Chattanooga and Hamilton County, with Lynda Minks Hood, executive director of the Chattanooga Bar Association, and attorney Marcy Eason of the Miller & Martin. - Photograph provided

As the Chattanooga Bar Association continues to adjust to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now planning to hold a portion of its annual Law Day event virtually from the Tennessee State Capitol.

Scheduled to be held Tuesday, Aug. 18, the live event will honor the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees all American women the right to vote.

The CBA’s Law Day celebration will take place on the 100th anniversary of Tennessee’s ratification of the amendment Aug. 18, 1920.

Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment, making it the final hurdle the amendment needed to clear to obtain the blessing of three-fourths of the states and become part of the Constitution.

Titled “100 Years of Woman Suffrage: Honoring the Past, Looking to the Future,” the CBA’s Law Day event will include a reenactment of the pivotal vote, a proclamation, keynote speakers, the presentation of the CBA’s 2020 Liberty Bell Award and a CLE seminar.

Members of the local bar will be able to watch the proceedings live via WebEx (www.webex.com), a video conferencing and communications platform.

The event will begin with a livestream of the reenactment from the chamber of the Tennessee House of Representatives at 10:30 a.m.

At 12:30 p.m., the CBA will continue its Law Day celebration with a proclamation commemorating Women’s Suffrage Day and celebrating Tennessee’s leadership in advancing democracy in the U.S.

Tennessee Representatives Patsy Hazlewood, Esther Helton and Robin Smith will issue the proclamation.

“Aug. 18 is a day to remember the acts of courage and determination of ordinary women who played an extraordinary role in the history of our nation,” Helton says. “This day celebrates how important women’s voices are to the success of our state and how far we’ve come to ensure equal opportunities for all.”

“The role Tennessee played in a special legislative session was truly a made-for-TV moment,” Smith adds. “It’s terrific to see the efforts in Hamilton County as part of the statewide Official Centennial Committee on Woman Suffrage to commemorate such an important time in Tennessee’s and America’s history.”

Following the proclamation, Paula Casey, founder of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, and Chattanooga and Hamilton County historian Linda Moss Mines will deliver the keynote addresses.

Casey will discuss the pride Tennessee takes in being the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment and make it possible for all American women to vote.

“It happened because of the suffragists’ dedicated and unwavering statewide efforts,” she says. “This was the greatest nonviolent revolution in the history of our country. Nearly 27 million American women became enfranchised with the 19th Amendment’s ratification. The suffragists proved democracy works.”

Casey says three legislators also deserve recognition: Rep. Joseph Hanover of Memphis, who became the floor leader and kept the pro-suffrage votes together despite the onslaught of liquor, manufacturing and railroad interests; Rep. Banks Turner of Gibson County, who changed his vote on the House floor from ‘for’ to ‘against’ tabling the motion, which allowed it to proceed; and Rep. Harry Burn, who was initially opposed the amendment but changed his vote in support of ratification after receiving a letter from his mother in Niota, Tennessee.

“These three men were lawyers, so I’m honored to be addressing the Chattanooga Bar Association,” Casey says.

After the presentation of the Liberty Bell Award, which will recognize community service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law, Memphis attorney Bill Haltom will present a one-hour CLE titled “Unsung Hero of Woman Suffrage.”

Haltom will discuss the heroics of 30-year-old Tennessee State Representative Joseph Hanover, a Polish immigrant who became the nation’s leading male voice in the fight for woman suffrage when he asked, “Why can’t mother vote?” in defiance of what Haltom calls “the most powerful forces in Tennessee.”

Haltom is the self-published author of “Why Can’t Mother Vote: Joseph Hanover and the Unfinished Business of Democracy.”

CBA members who register for and watch the association’s Law Day event will earn two-and-a-half hours of CLE credit.

To register for the event, email CBA Executive Director Lynda Hood at lhood@chattanoogabar.org.