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Sources

Chicago Defender (Modified)

Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.

Head Note: The Chicago Defender was one of the main African American newspapers in the country. In the decade before the Scopes trial, the newspaper played a major role in convincing blacks to leave the South and move North. The excerpt below is from an editorial about the Scopes trial.

In Tennessee a schoolteacher is being tried for teaching evolution to his students. If convicted, a prison term awaits him; he will be a felon and thrown into a cell with robbers, gunmen, and murderers.

That is the South’s way. She fights anything that does not support the South’s idea of white superiority. If truths are introduced that southern grandfathers did not believe, then it must be kept down.

The Tennessee lawmakers probably never read the textbook themselves. All they know about the subject is that the entire human race is supposed to have started from a common origin. There is their difficulty. If they admit that idea, they will have to admit that there is no difference between themselves and the race they pretend to hate. This would, of course, threaten the existing standards of living in the South.

Source: Excerpt from Chicago Defender editorial, “If Monkeys Could Speak.” May 23, 1925.