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Timeline: Monkey Trial

1859-1925 | 1927-1999  


January 15: Darrow and the ACLU challenge the Butler Law before the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court overturns John Scopes' conviction on a technicality -- because the judge, not the jury, set the fine. But it allows the anti-evolution law to remain on the books.


Bryan CollegeSeptember: A college named for William Jennings Bryan opens in Dayton in the old high school where John Scopes taught. Bryan College would grow into a liberal arts Christian college spread out over 100 acres in the hills above Dayton.


March 13: Clarence Darrow dies at the age of 81. At his request, friends scatter his ashes over a bridge in Chicago's Jackson Park.


'Inherit the Wind' movie posterInherit the Wind opens on Broadway. Written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play uses the Scopes trial to symbolize the intolerance of McCarthyism, and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s.


Dayton paradeJuly 21: Dayton celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Scopes trial with parades and photo opportunities. John Scopes returns to the scene of his "crime." The movie version of Inherit the Wind premieres at a local drive-in.


May 16: Tennessee overturns the Butler law. A newspaper editorial says, "Tennessee will be saved the ordeal of another trial in which a proud state is required to make a monkey of itself in a court of law."


October 18: In Epperson v. Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns an Arkansas ban on the teaching of evolution, making all anti-evolution laws unconstitutional.


June 19: In Edwards v. Aguillard, the U.S. Supreme Court declares unconstitutional Louisiana's "Creationism Act" demanding equal time for creationism whenever evolution is taught.


September: The Book of Legal Lists calls the Scopes trial one of the top ten greatest trials of all time.


August 12: The Kansas Board of Education votes to omit any mention of macro-evolution from its state science standards. The board later votes to rescind the decision.

1859-1925 | 1927-1999  

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