Author talks relation to Tennessee lawmaker who helped ratify 19th Amendment

Local News

Harry is above right shaking hands with suffragist Anita Pollitzer on the steps of the state capitol the day after the vote. (Courtesy: Tyler Boyd)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Communities across Middle Tennessee are celebrating this year’s 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

This week, a man who’s relative voted to help pass the amendment will be coming to Nashville to help honor women’s suffrage. Tyler Boyd is the great-grandnephew of Tennessee lawmaker Harry T. Burn and wrote a book about his life.

After reading a letter from his mother, Burn cast the deciding vote to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Tennessee was the 36th state needed to make it happen.

“Very fortunate to be related to such a figure not only to Harry but also his mother, my great great grandmother. I think it’s proof that you have an ordinary citizen who doesn’t come from a whole lot of wealth or have a lot of name recognition from a big political family,” Boyd said. “At first when I’m younger I’m thinking how is it that I’m related to this person? What are the odds? But now I think it’s not that surprising because he’s an ordinary engaged citizen, he runs for local office and he has a chance to do something incredible.”

On the anniversary Tuesday, Boyd said will be attending the state legislature’s reenactment of the vote. He’ll also speak at the final dedication of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument at Centennial Park.

“I hope it can inspire other people to realize if you get involved in local and state politics and quit thinking about federal all the time you might have the chance to shape policy like this. Now, are you going to vote for an amendment that enfranchises half the country? No. But all the other things that affect your everyday life including your voting rights, your schools, taxes, infrastructure all handled locally,” Boyd said.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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