Legal History

Known as Site of Famous 1925 Scopes Prosecution, Dayton, Tenn., Prepares for Annual Trial Festival

Looking for some summer fun? There’s still time to plan to attend this year’s annual festival in a small Tennessee town celebrating one of the nation’s most famous trials.

Although Clarence Darrow lost the so-called Monkey Trial, his client, high school teacher John Scopes, eventually saw his guilty verdict and $100 fine for teaching evolution overturned. Meanwhile, thanks in part to the fact that the trial, for the first time in the country’s history, was broadcast live on national radio, the epic battle between the renowned trial lawyer and his equally well-known and locally revered opponent, William Jennings Bryan, became an icon of American legal history

Every year, Dayton commemorates the 1925 trial with an annual festival which will be held this year on July 20-21. The event includes trial re-enactments in the restored 1891 courthouse and an opportunity to visit the Scopes Trial museum in the basement, the Associated Press reports.

While local accommodations are minimal, the town is about 45 minutes from Chattanooga.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “May 25, 1925”

New York Times (1925): “Scopes Guilty, Fined $100, Scores Law; Benediction Ends Trial, Appeal Starts; Darrow Answers Nine Bryan Questions”

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