Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Be A Good Boy

At 24 years old, he was the youngest member of the Tennessee Legislature on 
August 18, 1920.

Harry Burn stood up to cast his vote.

He wore a red rose, not a yellow rose, in his lapel, signifying that he stood with the men who planned to vote Nay to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In one hand was a letter he had received that morning from his mother.

It read:

Dear Son,

 Hurrah and vote for suffrage!
Don't keep them in doubt!
I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter.
I have been watching to see how you stood, 
but have not noticed anything yet.
Don't forget to be a good boy
and help Mrs. Catt put the "rat" in ratification.

Your mother

Harry Burns voted Aye to the ratification of the 19th Amendment,
Tennessee becoming the needed 36th state for the Amendment to become law
and for women of the United States of America to be given the right to vote.
Harry said he changed his vote because--

"A good boy always does what his mother asks him to do."  

[Our daughter-in-law stands before the Woman Suffrage Memorial
when we visited it, depicting Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville,
Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville,
and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis,
leaders of the women's suffrage movement in Tennessee.]


  1. why on earth.
    this should give me chills and even a tear. oh but it does.
    i guess because it humanizes something i have literally taken for granted.
    the suffering that the suffragettes enduring... force feeding... harsh control...
    imprisonment even... just so I could personally have a say in things even though i'm "merely" a woman! how far we've come on these ladies' shoulders.
    thank you for this wonderful wakeup call.
    to take the time to appreciate what they bravely accomplished.
    and beloved daughter in law is absolutely beautiful! XO

  2. Dewena, I like this post. I am glad I can vote. I do too. Your DIL looks so cute standing there. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  3. Dewena, thank you for sharing this information! While I know quite a bit about Alabama (because I grew up there), I've not had any time to research Tennessee history! This was so interesting!! I love that letter and am glad he minded his mother!!! :-) Hugs!!

  4. Took a Women in History elective course in college for my engineering degree. Loved every moment. 200+ in the class, and I had almost 100 average midway. Discovered most were failing the course. Major shock. Who could not pass this easy stuff? In hindsight, they were bored & didn't like the topic. A girl I sat near often, and we always said 'hi' but no more, approached me after that midway statement of failing by professor, she was failing. And, a fellow engineering student, top of every class. We became study partners. She helped me raise my engineering grades and I helped her get an 'A' in the women/history course. Did not keep up with this incredible young woman. She's probably a retired multimillionaire from the tech industry !!


  5. "A good boy always does what his mother asks him to do."

    Delightful quote!!!! That was a goooood man.

    And a lovely daughter in law you have.


  6. I enjoyed this bit of history. What it must be to have an opinionated mom :-)

  7. Dewena,
    I am touched by the reminder of how far we have come. It almost seems impossible that society viewed us an incapable of making such important decisions-we couldn't own land either!
    Your daughter in-law is lovely!

  8. Once again, behind every great man is a great woman...or mother ;).

    Thank you for this history lesson dewena. And your daughter in law is lovely!


  9. What an inspiring story! How far women have come; imagine not being able to vote because of one's gender! This is yet another example of how women were (are?) feared in history because of their intelligence, strength, and intuition!

    Did you know that this past April Variety magazine announced that Meryl Streep had funded and become involved in the creation of a screenwriters lab for women writers over 40, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television? Let's hope that her connection to this project will help bring stories like that of Mr. Burns and his mother's to the screen, to inspire and educate the public of the vital role that women have played in culture, politics, education, medicine, law, and so much more.

    Your daughter-in-law, with her movie star looks, could easily portray a leading lady, (perhaps a young mother Burns?) in the movie version of this amazing story!


  10. What a time in history that must have been. I have to admit I take my right to vote for granted, though I always exercise that right. This is a good reminder to say a prayer of thanks.

  11. Having a son, I am just loving this post! I'm going to share this story with him, for sure!

  12. This is what I love about history, the very human element in big moments like the women's right to vote. Such a sweet picture of your daughter-in-law. It speaks volumes.

  13. Thank heavens for the boys who did what their mother's ask!!
    Your DIL is lovely.

  14. Dewena, I've heard of the Woman Suffrage, but don't know much about it. Your daughter-in-law looks so pretty standing next to the memorial. And I really loved what Harry Burns said about "a good boy." It made me smile thinking of my own son. :~)

    love, ~Sheri

  15. cool post - i enjoyed it and the pic of your daughter in law in front of the statue.

  16. Great post!
    I love how she is standing next to the memorial. Fun idea for a photo.

  17. P.S.
    I am going to share this post with my boys. :-))

  18. GOOD for him! What an interesting bit of history! :)

  19. I thank the women for all they suffered through for us to have the right to vote, but they should have stayed away from causing prohibition ;)

    Beautiful picture of your daughter-in-law!