Nashville’s main downtown library has approved the creation of a permanent collection dedicated to the city’s role in ratifying the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed American women the right to vote.
On Tuesday, the library’s board approved the new exhibit space and collection of books and records.
The special area is scheduled to open in late 2019 near the library’s much-celebrated Civil Rights Room. If on schedule, it would be ready in time for the 100-year anniversary of the amendment’s ratification in August 2020.
The space will take the name “Votes For Women: the Legacy of the 19th Amendment,” and it is being funded by a private group of the same name, as well as the Nashville Public Library Foundation.
“We want to make sure that it’s not just a snapshot, but that the themes and the stories of women’s roles in society and what it takes to get the vote … are there for generations to come,” said organizer Margaret Behm.
The exhibit will overlook the downtown street where voting activists rallied in 1920 as Tennessee cast its decisive vote in favor of ratification.
The Nashville Public Library, along with Votes For Women, are now beginning what they describe as an “extensive” search for books, records and exhibits, and they’re making plans to gather oral histories and to host public programs that explore gender, race, class, democracy and states’ rights.