In the trial, three-time Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state William Jennings Bryan was the special prosecutor of Scopes for teaching evolution in a Dayton, Tenn., high school, saying it violated a state law that made teaching human evolution illegal in public schools. Clarence Darrow, a leading civil libertarian, defended Scopes. Bryan was an influential "Christian crusader," while Darrow was a famous proponent of science and secularism, Miller notes. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 but the verdict was voided on a technicality.
The trial put Dayton, which then had a population of 2,000 or less, on the map. Now numbering about 7,200, it has an annual Scopes Trial Festival, which starts Friday, and businesses with sly nods for names such as the Monkey Town Brewing Co. (serving Evolution IPA on tap). A bronze statue of Bryan has long stood in front of the Rhea County Courthouse, funded by Bryan College, a local evangelical institution. The statue of Darrow, which cost about $150,000 and was created by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis, was funded mostly by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
"It'll get people thinking and talking," Frudakis told Miller. "And it's just more historically balanced and accurate that way to have him there."
|Rhea County, Tennessee (Wikipedia map)|