50 Public Square, Clarksville, TN 37040
Clarksville celebrated the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, on August 15, 2020. The celebration included the unveiling and dedication of a monument on Public Square to make Clarksville a stop along the state’s Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, stretching from Chattanooga to Memphis. Tennessee Triumph is a 1.25-times life-sized statue that represents all Clarksville women who worked for suffrage and voted in that first election. The Tennessee Triumph Steering Committee for 20 women community leaders worked on the project and raised money for two years. While they had organized a host of activities to take place to celebrate the 100-year anniversary, the global pandemic lingered and events were scaled back to a march and the unveiling ceremony. Initially, the committee planned to honor a historic Montgomery County suffragist with a sculpture, but the group’s research quickly revealed that many women worked together for the cause. “We decided to ask a sculptor to create a woman every woman could identify with—whether she is black or white, old or young,” said Ellen Kanervo, committee co-chair. Nashville Sculptor Roy Butler, who specializes in highly detailed figurative sculpture in bronze from miniature to monumental, was commissioned to design and create the piece. For authenticity, he used 1920 Clarksville artifacts from Clarksville’s Customs House Museum & Cultural Center in his design, and was especially inspired by a pair of boots in the museum’s collection. Tennessee Triumph has affectionately become known to the steering committee as Tennie. The statue represents Clarksville's 27th piece of public art. The 7-foot bronze statue sits at Public Square facing F&M Bank. She is placing her vote in a ballot box and holding a scroll that reads, “Women use your vote.” “Clarksville suffragists were people like you and me who accomplished something really important by partnering with other women like you and me. And through their accumulated efforts, multiplied across the state, they brought about a wonderful and significant achievement. And I do believe with all my heart that women’s votes make this country stronger and healthier and a better place to live,” said Kanervo.