The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s

[Source description: "Governor Vetoes Evolution and Board Cuts Out Books." Raleigh News and Observer, January 24, 1924, pp. 1, 2. Reprinted by permission of The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina. About this source.]

News and Observer, January 24, 1924

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Governor Vetoes Evolution And Board Cuts Out Books.

Two of Six Proposed Biology Texts Pruned From Lists Submitteed In Report of Sub Text Book Commission; Four Others Are Allowed to Remain

With Governor Morrison standing flatly against any book that "prints a picture of a monkey and a man on the same page" illustrating a line of descent, the State Board of Education yesterday rejected from the report of the sub-committee of the Text Book Commission two works on biology. As adopted the list of 700 odd books from which the counties may select for State high school purposes, contains four biologies. While Governor Morrison indicated little favor for any of the books containing evolution theories, his first choice was the first choice also of the Text Book Commission.

"One of those books," said Governor Morrison, speaking of the rejected text, "teaches that man is descended from a monkey and the other that he is a cousin to the monkey. I don't believe either one of them.

"You don't think much of evolution?" the Governor was asked.

"I believe in evolution if you will let me define evolution," he continued. "Evolution is progress, and I believe in the development of man from a lower form of human life to a higher. I don't believe in any missing links.

"If there were any such thing as a missing link, why don't they keep making them?" the Governor asked.

It was the Governor's feeling on the subject of evolution and the text book teachings that moved him Tuesday night to carry all six of the proposed volumes to the mansion for some intensive study. The results of his study he gave to the board of education yesterday afternoon . . . .


About this Source:

As ex officio chairman of the State Board of Education, Governor Cameron Morrison did not participate in the discussion over which textbooks would be approved for use in North Carolina schools, but when he heard that two of the biology text contained treatments of evolution, Morrison took an active role in the debate. Morrison examined two books, Elementary Biology, originally published in 1919, and Biology of Home and Community, published in 1923. The discussion of evolution in both books is brief, covering only a couple of pages, but it was enough for Morrison to discourage their use in state schools.

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