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January 27, 2017

The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage

The Perfect 36:

 Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage


Janann Sherman

Dr. Janann Sherman, retired Chair of the History Department at the University of Memphis, holds a Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University. She is the author of No Place for a Woman: A Life of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, and contributing author to The Home-Front War: World War II and American SocietyGender and Policymaking: Studies of Women in OfficeThe Impact of Women on American PoliticsThe Journal of Military History and The Oxford Companion to United States History.

Carol Lynn Yellin

  Carol Lynn Yellin (1920-1999), a former Associate Editor of Reader's Digest and a Special Projects Editor of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, is a native Oklahoman with degrees in History and Journalism from Northwestern University. She is the co-author of the books: Bound for Freedom about resistance to school integration, and The Forgotten Woman, the story of Kasturba Ghandi, wife of Mahatma Ghandi. Her articles have appeared in Harpers, Vogue, Redbook, and American Heritage.


Yellin and Sherman bring to life the struggle of suffragists to earn women the right to vote which culminated with the final vote needed for ratification in the Tennessee legislature.The Perfect 36 gives voice to those who were for and against the right of women to vote with a richly illustrated volume. The authors provide a great deal of writings of those who were involved in this important movement along with pictures and cartoons to give a vivid sense of what it was like to win enfranchisement.



This book enlightened me on several things.  I didn't know that the "Perfect 36" meant that it took 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment also referred to as t he Susan B. Anthony Amendment.    Tennessee was that 36th state to ratify the vote on August 18, 1920.  American women were fighting to win suffrage for, literally at war, for over 72 years.  These women  set the stage for the women of the future.  Suffrage was not allowed in many situations, sometimes in a state or local situation, but it took the "Perfect 36" to make it take place everywhere.  It officially become a part of the U.S. Constitution and thus, became a freedom for women all over, women of all backgrounds. 

Women already had the right but men at that time controlled the power and  women weren't expected to be involved in political matters or voting.  They were supposed to be the dutiful little woman who stayed home and kept her mouth quiet.    It took a lot of strength, determination and will to win that 72 year old war.  It didn't come easy by far.   Women and men were held in jail, publicly ostricized, beaten, and so much more, but they didn't give up. They continued for what they believed in.   They held their heads high and kept their courage on the front burner.   Even though women hadn't been allowed to vote all those years, Men of different races had been legally allowed to vote for 50 some years. Women's rights were at the bottom of the list.  It didn't matter if the woman was educated or not, they were passed by.    There was one, yes one vote, that  put women and suffrage out front. That one vote came from Phoebe"Febb" Burn's son.   He voted for ratification and that is what won the war for the women of the time, then and now.

In July 1848, the first Women's Rights Convention took place in Seneca Falls, N.Y.   What a triumph for all those women who fought so hard for themselves, other women of the time and women today.  That was only the first step for equality for women and others.   The struggle continues today for equal rights.   The 1960's is probably the most thought of time for equal rights but it started way before that.   Many don't realize that.  The authors give readers much needed facts and information about women and their struggles to be equal.  Not only that but history on so many subjects that have been well thought out, well researched and well written to let men and women know that  equality doesn't come easily and more than that, equality is FREEDOM. Even if you're not a history buff, this book is so well written and interesting, you will find yourself involved in the facts, stories and the illustrations that show and tell of the strength, courage and determination of  those people in the past who have given all to give us all!

I would wish that all men and women pick up this book and discover what it took for us to have a place in FREEDOM and EQUALITY!

  I received a copy of this book from the authors and Paula Casey and voluntarily decided to review it.

 I would give this book 5 STARS. 




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