Constitution Week and 19th Amendment Exhibit

Constitution Day, September 17, 2020, marks the 233rd Anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

Members of the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society Daughters of the Revolution (NSDAR), were on hand today as Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts honored the signing with a bell ringing at 1:00 p.m. at the bell on the front lawn of the Jefferson County Department of Education building next to the Jefferson County Courthouse in Dandridge.

The NSDAR invites everyone to be a part of “Bells Across America” at 4:00 p.m., Thursday, September 17, when people across the land will ring bells to focus attention on the signing of this great historical document.

On September 4, MDW Constitution Week Chairman Glenda Roach was present for Mayor Potts’ signing of a Proclamation declaring September 17-23 as Constitution Week and September 17 as Constitution Day in Jefferson County. In addition to that proclamation, Roach oversaw the signing of proclamations by Mayor Mike Byrd in Grainger County and Mayor Bill Brittain in Hamblen County.

The uniqueness and durability of the U.S. Constitution are captured in the following statements:

“The Constitution is the guide that I will never abandon.” – George Washington, 1st President of the U.S.

“The happy union of the states is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.” – James Madison, 4th President of the U.S.

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the U.S.

“The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity – unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.” – Henry Clay, a Kentuckian who served in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and 9th Secretary of State of the U.S.

In addition to the proclamations, Roach has distributed Constitution Kits to all 8th Graders in Grainger and Jefferson counties. Each kit includes the Preamble to the Constitution, a bookmark, an American flag, and a pencil. Displays containing facts about the Constitution have been placed in 6 libraries, and public service announcements have been submitted to Knoxville and Jefferson County radio and TV stations.

In an exhibit titled “100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote – A Celebration,” August 16 through 22, Roach spotlighted the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with a display on the plaza of the Grainger County Courthouse in Rutledge. Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd authorized the display in the courthouse plaza. The exhibit was Roach’s Independent Project as part of her coursework for the DAR Members Course.

Members of the MDW chapter and others in the community submitted names of 139 female ancestors born before August 18, 1899, who were granted the right to vote upon the ratification of the amendment on August 18, 1920. The names were displayed on white and yellow tags hung from the wrought iron railing with yellow and purple ribbons. White, yellow, and purple represent purity, hope, and loyalty.

In the process of her research, Roach mined county election commission records and county archives for names. She hit paydirt when Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett located names of first-time women voters in the Jefferson County voting records.

For information about the DAR, contact Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Jane Chambers at (865) 591-3857.

Susie Jarnagin, Jean Jarnigan, Linda Rakoczy, and Glenda Roach practice ringing bells for “Bells Across America” at 4:00 p.m., Thursday, September 17. – Photo by Jane Busdeker

Carolyn Mitchell, Karen McFarland and her grandson River McFarland, and Glenda Roach celebrate a century of voting rights for women at the “100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote – A Celebration” exhibit at the Grainger County Courthouse Plaza on August 18. – Photo by Phillip Mitchell

Submitted by Jane Busdeker, Corresponding Secretary, MDW Chapter, NSDAR