The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s

Primary Sources

Documents

Joint Resolution Restricting the Teaching of Darwinism in the Public Schools of North Carolina

Text of the "Poole Bill," the resolution introduced in January 1925 in opposition to the teaching of evolution in North Carolina schools.

A Bill to be Entitled an Act to Prohibit the Teaching of Evolution in Certain Schools and Colleges in the State of North Carolina

In the 1927 legislative session, D. Scott Poole introduced this bill to prohibit the teaching of evolution in state-supported schools.

Benjamin C. Gruenberg, Evolutionary Biology: An Introduction to the Science of Life. Boston and New York: Ginn, 1919.

Gilbert H. Trafton, Biology of Home and Community: A Textbook for High Schools. New York: Macmillan, 1923.

These two textbooks were rejected for use in North Carolina schools by the State Board of Education after they were criticized by Governor Cameron Morrison for their treatment of evolution.

The Evolution Controversy in the News

News and Observer, "Governor Vetoes Evolution and Board Cuts Out Books."

In January 1924, N.C. Governor Cameron Morrison discourages the State Board of Education from approving two biology textbooks that describe the theory of evolution.

Charlotte Observer, " Poole Seeks to Bar Darwinism Out of Schools."

Representative D. Scott Poole introduces a bill to prohibit the teaching of evolution in state-sponsored schools.

Charlotte Observer, " Anti-Evolution Bill Fails of Committee O.K.."

After a strong debate on the Poole Bill in February 1925, the legislative committee on education votes against sending the bill forward.

Charlotte Observer, "300 Gather in Charlotte for Opening Fight in Bible Issue"

In early May 1926, during the heated campaigns for the state legislature, the "Committee of One Hundred" held a contentious meeting in Charlotte.

Opinions: In Favor of the Poole Bill

D.Scott Poole, "Why the Opposition"

After D. Scott Poole, sponsor of the bill to ban the teaching of evolution in North Carolina's public schools, canceled a scheduled speech at the University of North Carolina, he sent this copy of his speech to the university magazine.

J.R. Pentuff, "Pentuff on the Poole Bill"

Rev. J.R. Pentuff of Concord, N.C., follows up on his testimony before the House Committee on Education in this letter to the Biblical Recorder.

J. Sherwood Upchurch, "I Did Not Come from Him, Neither Did You!" (opens in a new window).

In this campaign poster, J. Sherwood Upchurch, Democratic candidate for the state legislature, makes his stance on the evolution debate clear.

Biblical Recorder, "Some Comments on the Poole Bill"

After the Poole Bill is voted down in the House Committee on Education in 1927, the Biblical Recorder weighs in on the two year struggle.

Opinions: Against the Poole Bill

Frank Porter Graham, "Evolution, The University and the People."

In this article in the Alumni Review, published in April 1925, faculty member Frank Porter Graham, who would later become president of the University of North Carolina, states his case for opposing the Poole Bill.
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