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New ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ Statue Erected in Tennessee Town

Courtesy of Dr. Randy Moore

The famed "Scopes monkey trial" pitted two celebrity lawyers against one another, but only one was memorialized outside the Tennessee courthouse where the case unfolded - until now. 

Friday at the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton the public will behold a 10-foot statue of skeptic Clarence Darrow, who argued for evolution.

It will stand on the opposite side of the courthouse from a 2005 statue of William Jennings Bryan, the Christian defender of biblical creationism.

The 1925 trial involved Paducah, Kentucky native John T. Scopeswho tested state law teaching human evolution.

The trial garnered national headlines on an issue that has sparked decades of debate. Historians say it started as a publicity stunt for the small town.

Pockets of opposition in Dayton suggest many Christians still see evolution as clashing with their faith. But the new statue hasn't drawn teeming crowds like the ones that forced some 1925 trial proceedings to be moved outdoors.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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