4A Jale of iwo Women
\ Marjon Stonemnan Douglas and Maijorie 1 larris Carr
Segment: Women's suffrage
Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove,
June 16, 1983.
Length of Segment: 00:02:42
Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.
Interviewer: Tell us something about your, uh, your involvement in going to Tallahassee for the first time
for women's suffrage.
Marjorie: Oh that?
Marjorie: Well that, you see... the amendment had been offered and the states had to ratify. And in
1916, it came up for ratification before the Florida legislature. So, Mrs. Williams Jennings Bryan, who
had come down here not too long before, organized a committee of Mrs., oh, Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte
Broward, the old governor's wife, and Mrs. Frank Jennings, another governor's wife and down here me
and Mrs. Frank Stranahan of Ft. Lauderdale, now dead, but she was, she and I were younger. She and I
were the more younger elements in that! (laughs) We went up to Tallahassee to get them to pass, to try
to ratify the Suffrage amendment. The Senate had said they would ratify, so we didn't have to bother
with them. We had to speak to a committee of the House, which we did. It was a big room with men
sitting around two walls of it with spittoons between every two or three. And we had on our best
clothes and we spoke, as we felt, eloquently, about women's suffrage and it was like speaking to blank
walls. All they did was spit in the spittoons. They didn't pay any attention to us at all. That evening Mrs.
Williams Jennings Bryan made a speech before the combined House and Senate, one of the best
suffrage speeches I've ever heard in my life, and I heard a good many because I heard them in college,
even. We were interested in suffrage and heard a great many of the great old suffrage women who
were wonderful women. Mrs. Bryan made a wonderful speech, and a man next to me scared me to
death: he was spitting in his spittoon that was right over there and I had my good dress on, so I was
worried! (laughs) Well, the House absolutely refused to ratify. So Florida didn't ratify that until years
and years later. It passed as a war measure, so when I came back from abroad in 1920, it was the first
time women voted, so I voted then. But still, Florida hadn't ratified it until very much later. You see, it
passed, but that was the result of our efforts! (laughs) I got a really good idea of political action, and
some of these redneck people... you know what we used to call "black... um... the Wool-hat boys in the
red hills beyond the Suwannee. They were the ones that ran the state. They sure did. I thought then
that it was a backwards state and I still have some of that idea.