100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
The Battle over Evolution
“She's Too Pretty to Come from a Monkey”
Epperson v. Arkansas
393 U.S. 97 (1968)
“Teacher at Central High Challenges Constitutionality of Evolution Law.” This front-page headline jolted readers of the Arkansas Gazette on December 7, 1965. The article was accompanied by a smiling photograph of Susan Smith Epperson, a twenty-four-year-old biology teacher at Central High School in Little Rock. Seven years earlier, howling mobs of white racists had surrounded Central High to keep nine black students from integrating the city's elite high school. Only after the Supreme Court ordered state and local officials in 1958 to end their “war against the Constitution” did the school regain a semblance of order. Another case that began in Central High reached the Court in 1968; ...