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Sue Shelton White Public Art Committee

Public art created by Jackson, TN, sculptor Wanda Stanfill to be unveiled on May 25, 2017, will honor this suffragist, attorney, and general counsel who implemented the Social Security Act.

In 1905, White took a job as a stenographer and clerk for the Southern Engine and Boiler Works in Jackson. In 1907, she became Jackson’s court reporter and, later, private secretary to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In 1918, she served as chair of the National Woman’s Party in Tennessee and editor of NWP’s national paper, the Suffragist. In 1913, recording secretary, Jackson league of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association (TESA), an affiliate of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). 1917, chair of TESA's Eighth Congressional District. Participated in NWP's Washington demonstrations, burning an effigy of President Wilson in front of the White House on Feb. 9, 1919. Arrested and sentenced to five days in prison.

From 1920-26, she worked as a clerk and legal secretary for TN Sen. Kenneth McKellar in Washington, D.C. In 1926, she returned to Jackson as the city's first female attorney and to work for her own law firm, Anderson and White. She was also active in the state's Democratic Party. She helped write Tennessee's first married women's property bill, an old age pension act, and a mother's pension act. She served as President of the Jackson Area Business and Professional Women, 1929-1931.

The New Deal: In 1928, she befriended Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson, director of the Women's Division of the Democratic Party. Through 1933, White worked as executive secretary of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee; executive assistant to the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

She became legal counsel helping implement the Social Security Act. Then she served as principal attorney and assistant to the general counsel of the Federal Security Agency before becoming ill with cancer in the early 1940s. She died in 1943.

Funded by Awesome Without Borders (April 2017)