Sep 30

Women's Suffrage - Woodrow Wilson in 1918

Posted on September 30, 2019 at 1:24 PM by Jamesan Stuckey

On this day in history, 101 years ago, the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, made a speech that would forever impact women’s rights.

When Wilson was elected in 1912, Suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) organized a march to Washington, D.C. with the following purpose: "to march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.” The protest would take place March 3, 1913, just as many Americans were filing to the nation’s capital to see Wilson’s inauguration the next day. The march or parade as it was also called held several prominent speakers, such as Helen Keller.

Unfortunately, many of the marchers were tripped, shoved, and assaulted, with even some police participating in harassment. By the end, 100 women were hospitalized, but their mistreatment helped to amplify the event. It led to major news stories and even Congressional Hearings, although it would be seven more years before their goal was finally achieved.

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Women's Suffrage March, 1913. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In the meantime, President Wilson would only express what historians note as “lukewarm” sentiments towards female suffrage; However, his tune seemed to have drastically changed by September 30th, 1918. Appealing to Congress, Wilson spoke of the great impact women had made in industries and along the home front, while America’s men were overseas during World War I.

“We have made partners of women in this war…Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege, and right?”

Thomaston Times, July 27, 1917.

Another factor said to have impacted the President in this change was the treatment of White House picketers in June, 1917. The women, who had been standing outside the White House gates for months, were taken into custody for obstructing traffic. Once in custody, they received beatings, faced unsanitary conditions, and were force fed after they had pledged a hunger strike to oppose their arrest. After hearing of these conditions, Wilson made his fateful remarks to Congress. Although the bill died in the Senate, Congress finally passed the 19th amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Although Georgia never officially ratified this amendment until 50 years later, in 1970.

So, where does Upson fit in during this time? It should be noted that the women of Upson County were actively doing their part to support the war effort. In fact, it was the women of Thomaston who organized the first Red Cross Chapter here in the county in 1917. Additionally, the local DAR chapter had a largely successful “sweater fund” which collected donations for sweaters, socks, medical supplies, and other essentials which were sent overseas.

Thomaston Times, June 22, 1917.

As stated in this 11/20/1920 issue of the Thomaston Times, local women were finally able to vote for the first time on December 13, the following month. However, see the list of conditions required for voting. All “non-white” ladies were completely excluded. Unfortunately, African American women were not granted the right to vote until many years later when the 24th amendment was passed in 1964.

Thomaston Times, November 20, 1920.

Sep 11

Unknown Photo of Upson Schoolhouse

Posted on September 11, 2019 at 11:51 AM by Jamesan Stuckey

Can you help identify the school or individuals in this photograph? This was recently found in a storage cabinet at the Pettigrew-White-Stamps Home. Believed to be Upson County related, as it had school superintendent, Gordon Holstun's name written on the back.

Any help is most appreciated!

May 16

1996 Olympic Torch Comes to Thomaston

Posted on May 16, 2019 at 4:34 PM by Jamesan Stuckey

Do you remember when the Olympic Torch passed through Thomaston?

On July 12, 1996, Thomaston was honored as one of the cities to host a torch relay event. When the ceremony started around 10:00 p.m. on that Friday night, thousands took part in lining the relay path. It was indeed a monumental event.

Thomaston’s then mayor, Dr. Ed Cliburn spoke to crowd on the significance of that night stating, “You go home tonight and find a page off of a calendar and draw a circle around July 12, and keep it for the rest of your lives. This will never happen to us again.”

1960 Olympic Gold Medalist, Martha Pennyman, encouraged the mass by saying, “I remember when I was very young, I dreamed of going to the Olympics and winning a gold medal, so I worked hard to do that. You, too, can work hard to achieve the best you can… Remember that a quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” She ended her words with stating, “May I leave this with you. May we always remember the power and glory of this moment and the light it brought into our lives.”

(Thomaston Times, July 15, 1996)

According to another article from the Thomaston Times, July 10, 1996, the relay order was stated as the following:

• First, Dr. Jim Elsey is scheduled to take the first leg, which will begin on Highway 36 in the vicinity of Goshen Rd. 
• Next Patty Hendricks of Woodland, Ga will carry the torch from Peachbelt Rd. to 112 South Green St. 
• The next two slots were unassigned by the time of the newspaper’s publishing.
• John Fulghum, a 14-year-old from Pike County, will then take the torch from Cherokee Rd. to Upson Ave. 
• Myrl Mallory (pictured) is described as next in the relay through her route is not described. 
• Then Colonel Frank Black, a retiree with the U.S. Air Force was then to carry it Forest Avenue, turn on West Gordon Street, and carry the torch to the stage which stood on the south side of the courthouse. 
• Mrs. Martha Hudson Pennyman was to then carry the torch offstage and hand it to an unidentified runner.
• Patricia Williams was said to be the next recipient
• Next up was Judy Covert who was to carry it to the DOT Maintenance Drive. 
• Other runners identified were married couple, George and Thelma Reddick. George actually gave up his part of his leg of the relay so Thelma could participate with him.

What are your memories of this event?

See photos for citation.

Thomaston Times, July 15, 1996

Myrl Mallory Carries the 1996 Olympic Torch. July 12, 1996, Historical Photographs Collection, TUA