TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jun 18, 2012

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero was awarded the first ever Lizzie French Women's Leadership Award at the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit on Friday. Officials said Rogero received the award for dedicating her career to creating positive and lasting change in the Knoxville community. The award is named for Lucy Crozier French, who addressed the men of the Tennessee Bar Association at its July 11, 1912, meeting in Knoxville about women's rights. She was reportedly the first woman to address the body, and in her speech (recounted verbatim in the official proceedings of the association), French says that since "we want to put Tennessee in the progressive States ... [we must] not alter simply one law concerning women here and there, but to take the whole bunch and burn it up, and begin over again." She then outlined laws that needed changing, including desertion of family by men; that mothers be made equal guardians of her children; that women should be able to vote and hold office; and that women's wages should be her own and not her husband's. French is reportedly also the first woman to address the Tennessee General Assembly, as well as the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council.