Thursday, August 3, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: August 3, 1900 – John Scopes

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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
John Thomas Scopes, educator known for his defense of Darwinism in the classroom, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, on August 3, 1900, to Thomas and Mary Scopes. In 1911 he moved with his parents to Salem, Illinois, and he later attended the University of Illinois. He transferred to the University of Kentucky as a sophomore in 1921, graduating with an A.B. in 1924. Scopes taught general science for one year at Rhea County Central High School in Dayton, Tennessee. While substituting for a biology teacher there, he tested the state's Butler Act by expanding upon Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom. For this he was arrested and tried.

The eleven-day trial, which began on July 10, 1925, in the Rhea County courthouse, became famous as the Monkey Trial. Clarence Darrow was hired by the American Civil Liberties Union to defend Scopes against the prosecuting attorney, William Jennings Bryan. The trial bore upon the issues of academic freedom, separation of church and state, and the power and influence of fundamental Christianity. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. In 1955 a successful Broadway play and subsequent movie, Inherit The Wind, revived interest in the trial. Scopes described the experience in Center Of The Storm (1967).

After the trial, Scopes studied geology at the University of Chicago, then worked briefly for Gulf Oil of South America. In 1932 he returned to Paducah. He was defeated when he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Socialist ticket. He began work for the United Gas Company in Texas and Louisiana in 1933, retiring in 1964. On February 13, 1970, Scopes returned to the University of Kentucky to address the Societus Pro Legibus.

Scopes married Margaret Walker; they had two sons, William C. and John, Jr. Scopes died of cancer in Shreveport, Louisiana, on October 21, 1970, and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Mencken, H. (2006). A religious orgy in Tennessee : A reporter's account of the Scopes monkey trial. Hoboken, N.J.: Melville House Pub.
Special Collections Research Center   Spec Coll Research Center - Room 019   KF224.S3 M46 2006 

Lienesch, M. (2007). In the beginning : Fundamentalism, the Scopes trial, and the making of the antievolution movement (H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman series). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Young Library   Books - 3rd Floor   BT712 .L54 2007 

Tracy, S., March, F., Lawrence, J., Lee, R., United Artists Corporation, & MGM/UA Home Video. (2001).Inherit the wind. Culver City, CA : Santa Monica, CA: MGM/UA Home Video] ; MGM Home Entertainment [distributor].
Young Library   Closed Media Stacks - Ask at Media Library Desk in B-67 Young Library   AV-D3075 

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