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The Modern Woman in Kentucky

The following lyric is a revision of the song “My Old Kentucky Home” (hear an audio clip from a 1920s duet). The lyric was composed by Madeline McDowell Breckinridge in celebration of Kentucky women gaining the right to vote in state and presidential elections. Some Kentucky women had been able to vote in local school board elections and in local referendums on school taxes since 1830. The 19th Amendment in 1920 however revised the 15th Amendment emphasizing universal male suffrage. (Note: Kentucky legislators after the Civil War had expressly rejected the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. It was a woman legislator, Mae Street Kidd, who led the effort in the Kentucky General Assembly to ratify these amendments in 1976.)

Photograph celebrating Kentucky ratification of 19th Amendment

The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home,
‘Tis winter, the ladies are gay,
The corn top’s gone, prohibition’s in the swing,
The colonel’s in eclipse and the women in the ring.
We’ll get all our rights with the help of Uncle Sam,
For the way that they come, we don’t give a ____.
Weep no more, my lady, Oh, weep no more today,
For we’ll vote one vote for the old Kentucky home,
The old Kentucky home, far away.

Source: Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge: A Leader in the New South (Chicago, 1921).

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