The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s

D. Scott Poole (1858-1955)

David Scott Poole was born in Montgomery County, N.C. in 1858. He was educated at Jackson Springs Academy and worked as a printer and publisher. He edited the Hoke County Journal for many years. Poole was involved in local politics in Raeford, N.C., serving as mayor from 1911-1912 and Justice of the Peace from 1917-1918. He was active in the Presbyterian church and his religious beliefs played an important role in his successful campaign for the General Assembly in 1924.

In 1925 Poole introduced a bill to prohibit the teaching of evolution in state-sponsored schools. The bill became commonly known as the "Poole Bill" and caused a fierce debate throughout the state. It was ultimately defeated by a vote of 67-46. The controversy over evolution continued into the next election cycle and legislative session. Poole introduced another anti-evolution bill in 1927, which was defeated in committee. He served a third term in the legislature and then returned to work as a journalist and publisher. Poole died in Raeford in 1955 at age 96.

Sources:

Cotten, Alice. "Poole, David Scott." In Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 5. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

R.B. House, ed., North Carolina Manual, 1925. Raleigh: North Carolina Historical Commission, 1925, pp. 572-573.

"D. S. Poole, 96, Former Publisher, Legislator, Dies." The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.), 29 April 1955.

Image Source: Signature from North Carolina House Bill 263, 1927. Courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives.

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