Kentucky and the 19th Amendment

State of Kentucky overlaid with the purple, white, and gold suffrage flag
State of Kentucky overlaid with the purple, white, and gold suffrage flag, indicating it was one of the original 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment. CC0

Women first organized and collectively fought for suffrage at the national level in July of 1848. Suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a meeting of over 300 people in Seneca Falls, New York. In the following decades, women marched, protested, lobbied, and even went to jail. By the 1870s, women pressured Congress to vote on an amendment that would recognize their suffrage rights. This amendment became known as the 19th Amendment.

After decades of arguments for and against women's suffrage, Congress finally voted in favor of the 19th Amendment in 1919. After Congress passed the 19th Amendment, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of it for it to become law.

On January 6, 1920, Kentucky voted in favor of the Nineteenth Amendment. Approximately six months later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment, recognizing women’s suffrage rights.

Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow signing the 19th Amendment. Kentucky became the 24th state to ratify the amendment. Library of Congress.
Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow signing the 19th Amendment. Kentucky became the 24th state to ratify the amendment.

Library of Congress, Lot 5543. https://www.loc.gov/item/97510716/

Kentucky state flag
Kentucky state flag. CC0

Kentucky Places of Women’s Suffrage: Shelby County Courthouse

The British women’s suffrage movement of the late nineteenth century influenced the suffrage movement in America. To support their American sisters, British suffragists would sometimes tour America giving lectures. Ethel Snowden was one suffragist who made the journey to America to promote universal suffrage for women. She gave a speech at the Shelby County Courthouse on November 7, 1915. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stone courthouse with Greco-Roman columns.

Discover More Places of Ratification

The Shelby County Courthouse is an important place in the story of ratification. It listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources used to make these state pages include: Ida Husted Harper's History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, Volume 6 (1922), the National American Woman Suffrage Association papers (Library of Congress), and National Register nominations from the National Park Service.

Last updated: August 1, 2019