Darrow Statue Unveiled In Dayton, Tenn.

A statue of Clarence Darrow, the lawyer who defended John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Tennessee public school, was unveiled in July in front of the Rhea County Courthouse, the site of the famous Scopes “monkey trial,” in Dayton, Tenn. 

Although protests were expected, it was a quiet unveiling, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The statue, created by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis, will sit opposite a statue of William Jennings Bryan, the creationist attorney who successfully prosecuted Scopes for illegally teaching evolution at Dayton High School in 1925. The Bryan statue was erected in 2005. 

In 2016, Bill Dusenberry, an Americans United activist in Oklahoma, told the Tulsa World that he was inspired to raise support and funds for a Darrow statue after seeing Bryan’s statue when visiting Dayton in 2009. (See “Darrow In Dayton?” September 2016 Church & State.) 

 “It was obvious to me when I saw that he was not represented, that I needed to do my best to do something about it,” Dusenberry said. Funds to erect the statue were raised through private sources. 

Others share Dusenberry’s sentiment. Ralph Green, president of the Rhea County Historical and Genealogical Society, previously told the Times Free Press that Darrow’s statue completes the historic representation of the famous trial. 

“The Scopes [t]rial would not have been what it was without the two of them,” Green said. 

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn and Communications Director Rob Boston provided statements endorsing the project that were used in the official program.