Professional sculptor and mixed media artist Mary Ruden recently invited Appalachia Bare to attend the historical marker unveiling for suffragette Lizzie Crozier French. Our Admin, Tom Anderson and I stepped into Knoxville Tennessee’s Old Gray Cemetery and were greeted by a wonderful group of individuals, many wearing suffragette white. Mary Ruden graciously offered us a tour of the area and explained her artistic contributions honoring Crozier French’s memory: a stunning bronze bust, a life-size portrait, and the historical marker as well. We had several warm conversations with those in attendance, then settled into our spots with our humble Sony video recorder and small Canon Powershot.
Regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Holly Matthews,1)Holly Matthews — Regent of the Cavette Station Chapter for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) officiated the event. Tennessee DAR Chaplain Nannette Feeback gave the invocation and benediction. Former president of Ossoli Circle,2)Greater Federations of Womens Club (GFWC) Ossoli Circle Wanda Taylor, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Speakers included:
- Cecile Wimberley – Tennessee State DAR Regent
- Charlotte Reynolds – NSDAR Vice President General
- Victoria Lamkey – President, James White Society National Society of the Children of the American Revolution (NSCAR)
- Ruthie Kuhlman – Executive Director for the Old Gray Cemetery
- Janie Bitner – Former President for the GFWC Ossoli Circle
- Mary Ruden – Local artist
- Mary Pom Claiborne – Knox County Public Library Foundation
- Gwen McKenzie – Vice Mayor for the City of Knoxville
- Wanda Sobieski – Founder and President of the Suffrage Coalition
The anticipated unveiling of Lizzie’s historical marker ensued and ended with wide admiration and applause. A wreath was presented by the Knox County DAR Council of Regents.
Afterward, the event hospitably offered cake and cookies and more conversation. The event was truly a joy. We are so very grateful for the opportunity to witness the unveiling of a marker honoring the amazing firebrand and trailblazing Lizzie Crozier French.
(Apologies for the lighting — The day was overcast with impending rain.)
**Video by Tom Anderson; Edited by Delonda Anderson
***Photographs by Delonda Anderson