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National Women's History Museum

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to stand on the floor of the House and join my female colleagues from both sides of the aisle as we work together to make the dream a reality, which is the dream of a women's history museum, to celebrate the cause of wonderful women who have participated in the push and preservation of freedom here in the United States. It will, indeed, be a wonderful day when we see this as a reality.

As Mrs. Maloney mentioned, we are moving forward legislation that would allow for the establishment of a commission to study where to place a museum. By the way, I think everyone will find it so interesting, which is that the women of this great Nation have said that we don't want any Federal money at all involved in this project. We are going to privately raise every single penny that is necessary for the location, for the physical facilities, for the exhibits, for the maintenance and upkeep and endowment. This is a project by the women of this Nation for the women of future generations to celebrate the accomplishments that women have made to the Nation.

Indeed, let's think about what has transpired in each and every State, and I hope, over the next few weeks, we have the option, as we celebrate Women's History Month, to talk about what women have accomplished in our country and what our States have contributed.

In Tennessee, we talk a good bit about what transpired when women got the right to vote. We had had all of the process through the fight with suffrage, and it came down to the point of ratification of the amendment to give women the right to vote and to make certain that we had the 36 States to ratify the 19th Amendment. It had been through 35 States, and on August 18 of 1920, it went to the Tennessee Legislature.

Guess what?

It was voted to a tie. There was a State rep, Harry Burn, and he was the one who broke the tie. As we often hear, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Indeed, this is a story that is a great example of that because Harry Burn changed his vote and gave women the right to vote. Harry Burn did it because Harry got a letter from his mother. Here is the letter:

Dear Son, hurrah and vote for suffrage. Don't keep them in doubt. I noticed some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Don't forget to be a good boy, and help Mrs. Catt put the ``rat'' in ratification.

Sincerely, your mother.

Harry Burn changed his vote, and Tennessee became the ``perfect 36''--the State that gave women the right to vote.

So, because of that, we are able to stand today in Women's History Month and push for a museum to celebrate the accomplishments of people like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the suffragettes and so many other women whom we will have the opportunity to learn about and talk about.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I think it is so significant that, again, those two States joined in pushing forward H.R. 863.

I want to commend Chairman Candice Miller and the Admin Committee for the hearing they have already held on the legislation and to take the opportunity to announce that Chairman Hastings and the Natural Resources Committee will hold their hearing on March 25. So it is another step as our States and women from our States move forward on moving this to becoming a reality--something women have wanted in this country since they got the right to vote.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, we are so excited about our talking, we didn't realize that the time had to be split, but so be it. We women stand and abide by the rules of the House, and so we will accept the acknowledgment of the change of time.

I will return to directing our attention to Chief Justice Connie Clark in Tennessee. What is so important about her career is that she was first appointed to the State court by a Democrat Governor, again served under a Democrat Governor, and then chief justice under a Republican Governor.

Justice Clark is such an incredible inspiration to women in our State. She has proven herself, has really been devoted to the judiciary and the law field, and is so active in our community, a tremendous role model.

If we step outside of the venue of politics and law, Amy Grant, who is a singer, songwriter, a native of Nashville, has had such a successful music career. Amy Grant became the first artist in Christian music to ever have a platinum record, and she went on to become a crossover sensation in the music world.

Amy Grant has pioneered the Christian music genre, and she has also blazed quite a trail in the music industry.

When we look at the world of sports, another Tennesseean, from Clarksville, Tennessee, which is in my district, Wilma Rudolph, many of you will recognize her name. She was a Tennessee State University track star.

On September 7, 1960, in Rome, she became the first American woman to win not one or two, but three gold medals in the Olympics. She was a track-and-field champion and was regarded as a civil rights and women's rights pioneer and is warmly remembered and treasured in our State.

Pat Summitt, who was the head coach of the Lady Vols at the University of Tennessee and is now the head coach emeritus, she was at the helm of the Lady Vols for 38 seasons. She is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history--the all-time winningest coach in all of NCAA history. That is men and women's teams.

She is forthright, well-respected, ethical, and a winner in every sense of the word.

Sandra Cochran, who is the president and CEO of Cracker Barrel, Incorporated, she became the president and CEO on September 12 of 2011, following her service as Cracker Barrel's president and chief operating officer. Cracker Barrel is headquartered in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Ms. Cochran was previously CEO at the Nation's third largest book retailer, Books-A-Million. She is serving our community and that country well.

Ms. Cochran is a chemical engineering graduate from Vanderbilt University and a masters of business administration from Pacific Lutheran University.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, she entered the United States Army, where she ultimately served as a captain in the 9th Infantry Division.

There are so many other influential women that come from our State, and we are delighted to know that we will have the opportunity to recognize them and their contributions and the contributions of all women who have contributed to the cause of freedom in that Nation.

I yield to the gentlelady from New York.

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