Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, will be the special guest of the Oak Ridge League for its 70th Birthday Party on April 29. The celebration will be held at Calhoun’s Event Center, which is at 100 Melton Lake Peninsula in Oak Ridge, starting at 5:30 p.m. April 29.
Wanda Sobieski, Knoxville attorney and suffragette history authority, will be the guest speaker, and 50-year Oak Ridge League members will be honored during the celebration.
MacNamara was elected the 18th president of the U.S. League in 2010 and was re-elected for a third term in 2014. She joined the League in 1983 and has served in leadership roles at all levels—local, state, and national. She is a longtime resident of DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta. Professionally, she is an attorney, recently retired as deputy chief assistant district attorney in charge of the office’s juvenile court division in DeKalb County.
MacNamara will present a 70th birthday proclamation from Governor Bill Haslam.
Sobieski’s topic will be “Making Tennessee Where Woman Suffrage Came of Age.” As coordinator of the Knoxville Women’s Suffrage Coalition and commissioner of the Tennessee Commemorative Women’s Suffrage Commission, Sobieski led the fundraising effort for a statue to honor three leading Tennessee suffragettes, one from Knoxville, that now stands in Market Square. She is currently raising funds for a memorial statue of Harry Febb Burns, the young Tennessean whose vote in the August 1920 Legislature ratified woman suffrage for Tennessee and gave the campaign the final state needed for approval of a national constitutional amendment.
Sobeski is president of her own law firm, practicing primarily in the areas of family law, civil rights, construction law and appellate practice.
The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920, an outgrowth of the successful battle for women’s suffrage. The organization now has more than 800 state and local leagues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Hong Kong.
Twenty-six years later, during the early years of the Manhattan Project in 1946, the Oak Ridge League was founded. The Oak Ridge and Knoxville/Knox County leagues are the largest among nine in Tennessee. Current Oak Ridge membership stands at 170.
Recognized for its voter education activities, candidate forums, and voter registration efforts, a mission in common with all leagues, the Oak Ridge group has been lauded for its informative Lunch with the League series, which features speakers addressing a wide range of public issues ranging from climate change to alternative programs aimed at the rehabilitation of drug offenders in area drug courts