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Clarence Darrow to the Rescue.
on October 29, 2004
In the latest issue of the journal, 'Nature,' there is an account of a fossilized "human" on an island near Java. Only three feet tall with a grapefruit-sized brain which is 2/3 smaller than a human brain leads me to conclude it was a chimpanzee instead of an adult dwarf, as they claim. The description of the teeth which survived for 18,000 years in a limestone cave surrounded by coffee farms confirm this.
It took research teams forty years to find this skeleton (actually not complete as the hands and feet are missing). It was uncovered thirteen months ago by teams from Australia and Indonesia, and the article leads one to believe this discovery will 'rewrite evolution,' according to a spokesman for London's Natural History Museum. From this group of bones, the paleontologists could determine there was hardly any chin or browline. Now, we know that our ancestors had prominent brows. If, in future excavations, they find claws, we'll know it was a monkey as other parts signify ape-like features.
This is either a bogus report of they more than likely found a baby orangutan. This article claims we had a "real-life Middle Earth" as in 'Lord of The Rings' in which the dragons were simply giant lizards and elephants as small as ponies. Who are they putting on? I need more proof before I will accept this as truth.
This book is about Clarence Darrow's next case after he defended Thomas Scopes in Dayton, TN, called the Monkey Trial. After suffering through the indignity of a Tennessee non-air conditioned courtroom in our TN withering heat and humidity, and losing the case by a bare margin (though he did lose), a nominal fine which humiliated those opposed to his theatrics in the courtroom drama. Since he was defending the young teacher who chose to instruct his students about the scientific evolution, he became an icon for justice for the 'under dog.'
I don't agree that the outcome was a triumph or "transcended race in the name of justice"; he erroneously felt that courts and the law could tame injustice. His childhood hero had been John Brown, the abolitionist who led the attack at Harper's Ferry, West VA. He thrived on taking controversial cases, and advocated for justice and the rights of the downtrodden.
Though he was noted for his eloquence, humor and satire (all put to good use in his defense tactics in the Scopes trial), he couldn't distinguish between two dark complexioned Jewish attorneys and "colored people" and lacked tact with remarks to Walter White, the assistant secretary of the N. Y. City NAACP. Being from the Mid-West (born in Iowa), he knew nothing about racism, made blunders due to his illlusory misconceptions and myths based on race.
In 1925, there were twelve million blacks living in Detroit and one Dr. Sweet put them all in jeopardy by exerting his "right" to live in a white neighborhood. According to this author, a white former teacher at the University of Michigan, Phyllis Vine, this decade (1920s) was the only time in American history our nation came close to an outright race war. I disagree.
She talks about Jim Crow, lynchings by the KKK, kangaroo courts, desecration of the American Dream, and so-called tolerance of racial violence in the U. S. A death incurred during the commotion of Dr. Sweet's 'thumbing his nose' at American society; as a result, he and ten others were on trial in Detroit for murder.
Darrow was old (69 yrs.) by then and tired, thoroughly exhausted by the trial in Tennessee (prefacing this case), but was enticed into taking this case for the notoriety. He and I have one thing in common, being against the death penalty. He had the ability to influence juries to decide on prison sentences instead of the electric chair. He'd just lost the TN Monkey case but, perhaps as a consequence of his courtroom tactics had caused the death of William Jennings Bryan, his opponent.
When finally persuaded by the NAACP to take this case, he'd decided on 'self-defense' as the cause of the shooting to death one of the rioters. He and his TN co-defense counsel, an attorney from New York, obtained the services of other white lawyers seeking national press coverage. The whole case was on the premise, the "old principle of a man's right to protect his home as his castle" and the failure to prove a "conspiracy to commit murder."
The Epilogue was the most interesting part of this book, to see how this case brought prestige to some of the principals (the judge was appointed Governor of the Phillippines, a U. S. attorney General, and on the United States Supreme Court by FDR) and disgrace to others (Dr. Sweet ended up as a suicide after failures on all sides of his personal life after this incident).
James Johnson, executive secretary of the N.Y. NAACP, came to Fisk University (where my son Zachary taught English for five years) to teach and died in a car/train collision. While in TN, he wrote five books which were published, incuding an auto-biography, ALONG THIS WAY.
Darrow's co-counsel went on to defend Sacco and Vanzetti, who were executed for murder, based on questionable evidence, and assisted in the famous Scottsboro trial of nine black Southern men who raped two women on a train.
Detroit was declared the 'wickedest city in U.S.' and that house on Garland Avenue where this murder was perpetrated is now on the National Register of Historic Places. That should please Jack Neely. With his aid, we have so many old dilapidated downtown structures with those markers, and I am wondering what the signifigance of all this nonsense will entail. Just because something ununusal or notorious happened at that spot does not make it 'historic.' Tell that to the preservationists. We need progress in this town and this nation, not living in the past.