An entry in the 1897 Senate Journal. For more details, follow this link.
That not all North Carolinians associated good works with individual rights was demonstrated in the long struggle for women suffrage. An equal-suffrage association had been formed in Asheville in 1894, but even the fusion senate three years later laughed down the first bill proposing access to the ballot box by females. Sixteen years later the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League was formed, and soon suffragettes were marching in parades with sighs reading, "Votes for Women" and "Taxation without Representation Is Tyranny." Leaders of the movement emulated tactics of other special interest groups by holding mass meetings, installing booths at fairs, and talking with legislators. A bill "to confer upon women the right to vote in all municipal elections," introduced in 1913 by Representative David McKenzie Clark of Pitt County, was treated with reasonable respect, but it, like all other equal-suffrage bills for the next several sessions, failed to pass. Even an act of 1915 authorizing the governor to appoint women as well as men as notaries public was struck down by the supreme court (over, of course, Walter Clark's dissent).
This development must have given satisfaction to a young representative from Buncombe County. The name was L. Exum Clement--really Lillian Exum Clement, "Brother Exum" to her fellow representatives--the first woman to serve in the state legislature. The legal barrier against women removed, the statewide vote in 1920 nearly doubled that of four years earlier. There was no rush of women candidates, however, for the law did not eradicate bias. Nevertheless, women in small numbers began filling offices at both the state and local levels, and the dire predictions of opponents were gradually forgotten.