A 21st Century Scopes Monkey Trial
Nearly a century ago, John Scopes went to trial on July10, 1925, in Dayton, TN. John Raulston was the presiding judge and had Rev. Lemuel Cartwright begin the trial with a prayer. Each day of the trial started with a Protestant clergy’s prayer.
Raulston did not allow Clarence Darrow, Scopes’ defense attorney, to call any scientists to testify since the trial wasn’t about science. Scopes was on trial for teaching evolution, which was a violation of the Butler Act. Therefore, Darrow couldn’t defend Scopes by bringing in a scientist who would discuss the commonly held belief of evolution in the scientific world. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, over six decades prior to the Scopes trial
Raulston maintained that a scientific expert on evolution would “shed no light” on Scopes violating the Butler Act, which argued that evolution couldn’t be taught in the public schools in Tennessee. On July 17th, the jury found Scopes guilty of teaching evolution after nine minutes of deliberation. Five days later, William Jennings Bryan, who led the prosecution team, died while still in Dayton. Five years later, William Jennings Bryan College was founded in Dayton.
The firestorm that evolution caused in Dayton, TN, parallels Critical Race Theory (CRT). Dr. Crystal Fleming’s book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide, she wrote, “The major insight about systemic and institutional racism is that there is no such thing as ‘a little bit of racism’ or ‘pockets of racism’ or ‘random incidents of racism’ isolated from the rest of society. Whether you realize it or not, racism is systemic, pervasive and embedded within the core of all of our major institutions.”
Let’s ponder the question of whether or not racism is systemic in America. Let’s ponder from the beginning, as in August 1619. It was over 400-years ago when the first slaves were brought to the Virginia colony.
Thus, began slavery in the English southern colonies. It continued in 1776 when the colonies became states. In 1787, the Three-fifths Compromise became a part of the 14th Amendment of our Constitution. The South had slaves and wanted them counted as a part of the population of the state. Slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person. The underlying reason was not that slaves were seen as people. However, the South wanted more members of the House of Representatives. Slaves couldn’t vote, but the Southern States wanted more control over Congress. The Tree-fifths Compromise assured white control over slaves and southern white control in the House of Representatives in Washington.
Less than a century later, the Civil War occurred, which was won by the North, but the North lost the peace, equality, and human freedoms for which they fought. Jim Crow laws and segregation replaced slavery. In the South, there were two worlds: a white and a black world. Blacks couldn’t go to school with whites, see movies with whites, or drink from the same drinking fountains. When on buses, they had to sit in the back of the buses.
Today, we have white cops killing blacks in the streets and pulling them over while driving. When I was pulled over for driving faster than the speed limit, I wished I had been going slower. I never worried about getting beaten or shot. When I was young, blacks were lynched by white mobs, which also never crossed my mind.
All the professional sports teams discriminated against blacks and other racial minorities. In 1947, Jackie Robinson was the first black player in Major League Baseball.
Blacks have been directly adversely affected medically. The Tuskegee Experiment was set up to do research the effects of untreated syphilis. Essentially, researchers looked into the way syphilis developed from 1932 to 1972. The researchers told 600 black sharecroppers in Macon County, Alabama, that they were researching medical issues but didn’t mention syphilis. The researchers didn’t treat the blacks that had syphilis with penicillin. They merely wanted to observe them. It was believed that blacks’ cardiovascular issues were adversely affected by syphilis. When the blacks had medical problems, they were told that they had bad blood.
Due to poverty, many blacks lacked basic medical care, which adversely affected their longevity in general. Add issues like the Tuskegee Experiment to poverty, and you can see the gap between racial or ethnic groups in America.
President Lyndon Johnson started to address segregation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
While Johnson successfully got both acts passed, he said, “We (meaning the Democrats) have lost the South for a generation.”
The Brennan Center looked at voter suppression laws in America.
More restrictions on the vote are likely to become law, as roughly one-third of legislatures are still in session. Indeed, at least 61 bills with restrictive provisions are moving through 18 state legislatures. More specifically, 31 have passed at least one chamber, while another 30 have had some sort of committee action (e.g., a hearing, an amendment, or a committee vote). Overall, lawmakers have introduced at least 389 restrictive bills in 48 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.
The Critical Race Theory states that racism in America is systematic, but the opposition doesn’t buy into that notion. For them, the issue isn’t racism but indoctrination.
Racism is based upon inferiority…of some whites. White supremacists want to maintain control. As Trump said that there are some good white supremacists after Charlottesville, VA. The disturbance was due to the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee, the general of the Confederacy.
America needs to read history books, which contain history. History books aren’t to be whitewashed history books.