The Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote

Interview by
Diane Danvers Simmons
Natalie Simmons
Published on
October 28, 2020

In this episode...

In the wake of a historic election, resulting in the first ever female vice president elect, Diane & Natalie visit the story of how women gained the right to vote just 100 years ago with children’s book author, Mary Morgan Ketchel, and her mother, Senator Marsha Blackburn.


Mary Morgan Blackburn Ketchel

Mary Morgan Blackburn Ketchel is the author of children's book, "Camilla Can Vote." She feels particularly connected to the women’s suffrage movement having voted for her own mother to become the first female Senator of Tennessee and hopes Camilla can reach many more little girls!

Senator Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn is a member of the United States Senate. She was the first female Senator for her home state of Tennessee.


1.30 Diane shares the premise of this episode and who our mother and daughter duo are: Mary Morgan Ketchel and Senator Marsha Blackburn. Mary Morgan and Marsha came together to write a children’s historical fiction book, celebrating and commemorating the journey of American women gaining the right to vote 100 years ago.

2.30 Natalie discusses the decision to move the episode release date and remarks on the outcome of the 2020 election and the impact of women, especially women of color, on the vote which elected the first female VP to the White House. She remarks on the level of votes by gender and race.1

6.00 Mary Morgan introduces herself and shares her favorite book as a child, “The Little Train that Could” citing her “can-do” attitude for life.

7.15 Marsha shares advice from her own mother, “‘TEAM’ together everyone achieves more.” 

8.15 Mary Morgan describes her inspiration to write the story related to the history of Tennessee as the final state to ratify women’s right to vote in parallel to her mother’s glass ceiling breaking fight to become the first female senator of Tennessee.

10.30 Senator Blackburn gives historical context on how the push for women for getting the right to vote began. She remarks on it being a “72 year constructed effort.”

13.00 Natalie remarks on how little is taught about women’s role in American history including women’s right to vote, the Equal Rights Amendment and more. 

14.00 Senator Blackburn acknowledges how far we’ve come but reminds us of the work that we must continue doing to remove barriers to gain parity.

14.45 The group discusses the importance of learning about trailblazing women in history and how this can impact children of all genders reading the book by creating role models and leaders they can see themselves in. 

19.30 Mary Morgan shares the premise of the book “Camilla Can Vote.” 

21.45 The ladies share their experience of writing the book together.

23.45 Natalie transitions the discussion to the responsibility of women in America today to be active and to support causes that we care about to further our movement as women and as a country. To close, she asks the ladies to share their call to action, and what they believe the responsibility of women is today in educating themselves and furthering opportunities for all.

25.30 Senator Blackburn shares the importance of the right to vote building up all women stating “the push for women getting the right to vote opens doors for all women. It is not Democrat or Republican, it is not left or right, it is saying this is an opportunity. Here is a story about women who broke barriers so that all women would be able to have that precious right to vote. They would be able to take another step toward dreaming big dreams and making their dreams come true.” 

27.15  Mary Morgan shares where our audience can buy “Camila Can Vote”.

28.00 Natalie wraps up the episode by quoting Kamala’s VP Acceptance speech in which she honors her mother and the women who got her where she is and provides a beacon of hope for those who come after her. See the full speech here. 2

1 Brittany Mayes, Leslie Shapiro. “Exit Poll Results and Analysis for the 2020 Presidential Election.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 Nov. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/elections/interactive/2020/exit-polls/presidential-election-exit-polls/?_gl=1%2A90bf5p%2A_ga%2AWDdkUTUzYlF3bzQxNmQzYlp6WElScWI1WEhPcjloNHZpckM4V28tNW0zLW5nZURlUW5LUDRiUFhueGlBTjl5Sw.. 

2 Stevens, Matt. “Read Kamala Harris's Vice President-Elect Acceptance Speech.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2020, www.nytimes.com/article/watch-kamala-harris-speech-video-transcript.html.

Website: www.camillacanbooks.com

Instagram: @camillacanvote

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