101st Anniversary of the 19th Amendment-Honoring Abby Crawford Milton
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The League of Women Voters of Chattanooga held a dedication ceremony on September 17, at 11:00 a.m. to celebrate suffragist Abby Crawford Milton’s work across the state to campaign for passage of the 19thamendment, ultimately winning women the right to vote.
The ceremony was held in Philips Park at the corner of McCallie and Georgia Avenues where Milton’s historical marker stands. The celebration includes the installation of a plaque and park bench donated by the league.
Guest speaker, Linda Moss Mines, Chattanooga and Hamilton County historian, portrayed Abby Crawford Milton in character before the masked gathering where many will be dressed in white to honor suffragists whose mission was to expand the right to vote.
Women, over a wide span of history dating back to 1848, have fought for the right to vote and Chattanooga’s own Abby Crawford Milton stands prominently among them as a leader in America’s women suffrage movement and the battle for the 19thAmendment.
Milton, a graduate of Chattanooga Law School and the first president of the Tennessee League of Women Voters, traveled the state campaigning for the women’s vote, which was finally ratified on August 18, 1920. She spoke of the enormity of the moment. “It seemed too dramatic to happen in real life, but this was the real thrill of history-making, not the excitement of stage or movies,” She added, “Personally, I had rather have had a share in the battle for woman suffrage than any other world event. It is the purest American patriotism.”
League leader Lisa Bilbrey Hyder, who worked to enable this memorial, says the plaque and bench donated to Chattanooga’s Philips Park were funded by the generosity of league members and friends of the league. “This project to honor Abby Crawford Milton, the 19th Amendment, as well as the creation of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, became a reality because those who support the league’s mission to expand the vote wanted to come together to acknowledge her legacy. We’re so grateful to those who contributed.” Ms. Bilbrey Hyder also thanked the City of Chattanooga parks department for working in partnership with the league to enable this memorial’s installation.