Alcatraz East Crime Museum Highlights 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment

August 18, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. By decriminalizing the actions of women across the country who had been attempting to vote, this constitutional amendment was a significant moment in our legal history. Alcatraz East Crime Museum commemorates not only this anniversary in legal history but Tennessee’s role as the final state to ratify the amendment making it law on August 18, 1920. Starting August 18 visitors will be able to learn about the women’s suffrage movement and Tennessee’s role in a pop-up display in the lobby of the museum.

“As a legal story, a crime story, and as a Tennessee story it was important for us to mark this centennial,” says Rachael Penman director of artifacts and exhibits at Alcatraz East. “It’s amazing to think Susan B. Anthony was arrested for an act that we later honored her for on our money.”

Anthony voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested, tried, and convicted for illegally casting her ballot. She spent most of her life fighting for women to have the right to vote, and never lived to see that day come. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and many others fought for suffrage for decades giving speeches, lobbying, marching, picketing and engaging in civil disobedience to bring attention to the cause. Many of them were arrested and spent time in prison, including Paul who received a seven-month sentence.

Tennessee played a major role in advancing the right for women to vote. On August 18, 1920, it became the 36thstate to ratify the 19thAmendment, giving the country the three fourths of the states needed for it to become law of the land forever.

“What these women went through and suffered in prison for is an important part of the story to remember,” added Penman. “With the anniversary we wanted to honor these women who were considered criminals for wanting to vote.”

The new pop up on the 19thAmendment is now on display and will be in the Alcatraz East Crime Museum lobby through Election Day on November 3, 2020.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum has COVID-19 safety measures in place including a new “police” mascot called “Doc” (law enforcement lingo for Department of Corrections). Throughout the museum, visitors will see signage and friendly safety reminders from Doc. The museum’s updated safety measures include reduced hours, enhanced cleaning, spatial distancing protocols, employee health screenings and employee PPE.Guests are encouraged to review all safety rules prior to their visit on their web page devoted to COVID-19:

Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden; Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief; and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: Please check out our traveling safe page with more safety tips and information:


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