ON this day in 1925 in Tennessee … nearly a thousand people were crushed into the Rhea County Courthouse for the first day of a trial.
John Scopes, a 24 year old high school biology teacher and part-time football coach, had been charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. Clarence Darrow had joined the ACLU in his defense in what would become one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.
William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic candidate for President whom H. L. Mencken called a “sort of Fundamentalist Pope”, was a “crusade to banish Darwin’s theory of evolution from American classrooms.”
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T. T. Martin “was a Christian evangelist who became one of the most important figures of the anti-evolution movement in the 1920s.
He wrote Hell and the High Schools (1922) which claimed that the theory of evolution and teaching evolution in public schools was ‘the greatest curse that ever fell upon this earth.”
Martin rented a store on which he hung a giant sign that promoted his books at the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee.