For the first film in our Virtual Film fest, let’s start out with a short documentary!
Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote
2017, directed by Yoshie Lewis
Watch the film here:
Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote gives a good concise overview of the Women’s Suffrage Movement before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and then focuses specifically on the pivotal role played by the state of Tennessee. The film’s title is a reference to the fact that 36 states needed to ratify the 19th Amendment before it could be officially added to the Constitution, and Tennessee was that 36th state.
There are some great interviews with experts, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s great-great-granddaughter, Coline Jenkins. The brief reenactments and voice-overs of the key players are simple and well-done. It’s really interesting to learn more about the women leading the fight in Tennessee who may have been lesser-known, but were still instrumental in the ratification of the 19th Amendment. And the story behind the representative that cast the deciding vote for ratification was incredible.
One thing that was brought up in Perfect 36 that many people may not know, is that those in the anti-suffrage camp were not all men. There were many women who opposed the idea of their fellow women getting the right to vote! How could one tell which side someone was on? Pro-suffragists wore yellow roses on their lapels, while anti-suffragists wore red roses. Fun fact: some of the anti-suffragists secretly gave out alcohol (this was during prohibition) to try to bribe government officials in Tennessee to their side!
I was worried that because this is such a short documentary, it would be severely lacking in information or that it would feel like everything was rushed, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was a quick, exhilarating trip back in time. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do too!
What a nice start to the Virtual Film Fest! Please free to share your thoughts with us in a comment or on the Facebook event.