During ROADSHOW's 2013 visit to Knoxville, Tennessee, host Mark L. Walberg and books expert Francis Wahlgren took a trip 80 miles south to the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton. Why the detour? In the sweltering heat of July in 1925, the Rhea County Courthouse became the site of one of the most high-profile trials in U.S. history: the Scopes Monkey Trial.
Powered by the antics of the two lead attorneys, the trial was a blockbuster
The Scopes Trial was held to decide the innocence or guilt of John T. Scopes, a schoolteacher who had essentially confessed to breaking the law (which had recently been passed by the state legislature) of teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, rather than the Bible's creation story, to his students. The trial is one of a small handful of court cases instantly recognizable to Americans, but it hardly settled the question of how to accommodate religious belief in American school curricula. In fact, it was never intended to.