Nov 3, 2014

'Zip, we are outclassed'

Cartoon from the Atlanta Constitution, July 1, 1925. The cartoon depicts the view -- not uncommon -- that the famous Scopes trial, where a school teacher was put on trial for teaching evolution, was more of a publicity stunt for the town of Dayton, Tenn., than anything else.

Zip the Pinhead was a freak show character played by William Henry Johnson, an African-American man from New Jersey who had an oddly shaped head. P.T. Barnum billed him as one of a tribe of "missing links" discovered in Africa. He also advertised Zip as Zip the What Is It.

Zip the Pinhead illustrates how evolutionary ideas were linked, popularly, with a racist ideology.

Other cartoons from Southern newspapers depicting the trial can be found here, along with cartoons from Northern newspapersnational magazines and fundamentalist publications.