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APSU Woodward Library hosting women’s suffrage book talks, thanks to prestigious national grant

Dr. Jill Eichhorn

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University’s Felix G. Woodward Library was recently selected to participate in the “Let’s Talk About It (LTAI): Women’s Suffrage” grant program, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022, “Let’s Talk About It” is a reading and discussion program that involves groups of people reading a series of books selected by national project scholars and discussing them in the context of an overarching theme. The Woodward Library is one of 25 libraries across the country selected to participate in this grant program, and the only library selected in Tennessee.

“I am honored that Woodward Library has been selected to participate in the ‘Let’s Talk About It: Women’s Suffrage’ grant,” said Jenny Harris, APSU coordinator of research & instruction and assistant professor, said. “With the support of many amazing local scholars, we will closely examine the women’s suffrage movement and highlight many of the suffragists who have historically been left out of the narrative. We look forward to conversations that encourage critical reflection and help participants gain a broader perspective on women’s suffrage in the U.S.”

Each event will highlight one of the five books in the LTAI: Women’s Suffrage program, and discussion groups will meet with a local scholar to talk about the book and its themes. The five individual discussion events, which began last month, are centered on the following books:

All events, which are free and open to the public, take place on Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the APSU Office of Equity, Access and Inclusion (OEAI), located at 416 College St.

To open the program, Dr. Jill Eichhorn, associate professor of English and coordinator of the APSU women’s and gender studies program, and Brenda Harper, former co-chair of the Tennessee Triumph Steering Committee and local suffrage historian, led a presentation in April on The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss.

“Highlighting the typically marginalized voices that constitute suffrage history, this history reveals to us democracy in action, how a group of people from many different backgrounds lobbied, campaigned and protested to address the injustice of silencing U.S. citizens at the ballot box,” Eichhorn said. “This history demonstrates both the value and significance of historical accuracy and of each U.S. citizen’s vote.” 

The second discussion will take place this week and focus on Women Making History: The 19th Amendment Book.

The competitive LTAI award comes with a $1,000 stipend to support programming costs and 10 copies of five books covering the women’s suffrage theme. According to the ALA, more than 100 libraries applied for the grant.

For more information or program materials, including a copy of the books that will be discussed, visit https://libguides.apsu.edu/womenssuffrage or contact Harris, program coordinator, at harrisj@apsu.edu or 931-221-7914.

To explore resources from past LTAI themes, visit the project website.

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