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"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." XIX Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
It was a chance comment to his mother about his junior high voting rights' homework that became the foundation of writer Tyler Boyd's popular book, Tennessee Statesman Harry T. Burn.
Her response, “Make sure you tell the part about your great-granduncle who was responsible for passing the 19th Amendment for woman’s suffrage,” hit Boyd like a sledgehammer.
In 2017, as Boyd began to think about the upcoming 19th Amendment centennial, he began to research his uncle's life and career more deeply. In 2019, his book was published, just in time to celebrate his family's small but crucial role in the seven-decade struggle for woman suffrage.
Boyd is the great grandnephew of Harry T. Burn, the former Tennessee State Representative and committed anti-suffrage legislator that surprised the world when he voted FOR women's suffrage, breaking a tie that was minutes away from defeating the Amendment and denying women a voice in government. Had Burn held fast, the Amendment would have suffered a heartbreaking defeat.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee held a special session to vote on the 19th Amendment. Burn has originally intended to vote ‘no’ and even wore the office red rose on his lapel – a symbol for anti-suffragists. The vote deadlocked 48 to 48.