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Clarence Darrow Statue Dedication, July 14, 2017

The Freethought Society (FS) joins with The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the American Humanist Association and many others in celebrating the unveiling of an impressive monument to the eminent civil libertarian who fought perhaps the most famous legal battle in U.S. history. The statue of legendary lawyer and rationalist Clarence Darrow is to be dedicated on Friday, July 14, right in front of the site of the historic Scopes evolution trial: the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee.

A local statue of Darrow’s legal adversary, William Jennings Bryan, given to the county by the William Jennings Bryan College, inspired talented sculptor Zenos Frudakis and others to seek to remedy of the “missing link.” Darrow will soon take his rightful place adjacent to Bryan on the courthouse lawn. Darrow defended John Scopes when he was charged with teaching evolution at the 1925 “trial of the century” (The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes).

Frudakis, based in Glenside, Pennsylvania, is creating the 7-foot bronze statue of the famed attorney, to be installed July 13, 2014 upon a 3-foot high base. Frudakis is a renowned American sculptor who has created an extensive, award-winning collection of more than 100 bronze sculptures in public and private collections. FFRF is contributing the lion’s share of costs: $150,000, made possible through the generosity of its members.

The dedication will begin in front of the courthouse at 10:00 AM on Friday, July 14, 2017 and will include actor John de Lancie, who played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Andrew Kersten, author of the 2011 biography, Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast, will speak about Darrow and his “frenemy” relationship with Bryan. Kersten is dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Idaho-Moscow. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor will also say a few words. Barker, a professional musician, will set the tone prior to the dedication by a rendition of music from the 1920s. The short dedication will end with Frudakis, Barker, Gaylor and de Lancie unveiling the statue. Margaret Downey, FFRF board member and president of FS will emcee.

“I am honored to be the emcee for this historic event and thrilled to see that both attorneys involved in the trial will be represented at the Rhea County Courthouse. The accurate representation of the trial and the talented attorneys involved will surely draw many visitors to the lovely city of Dayton, Tennessee,” says Downey.

The 2017 Scopes Trial and Festival will kick off shortly after with bluegrass music, booths and other festivities.

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