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Today in Johnson City History: February 19

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • Feb 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Feb. 19, 1935: The Johnson City Press reported that in a 67-20 vote, the Tennessee House of Representatives killed a bill that would have repealed the state’s infamous “Monkey Law,” which prohibited schools from teaching any theories regarding human evolution from a lower order of animals. The House vote came 10 years after the law drew international attention to Tennessee in the Scopes Trial in Dayton, which was immortalized in the 1955 stage play “Inherit the Wind,” which was adapted to film in 1960.

Feb. 19, 1977: Elvis Presley played at Freedom Hall Civic Center before 8,000 people. Tickets were $12.50 and $15. In today’s dollars, the tickets would be about $52.15 and $62.60, respectively. Elvis died just six months later.

Feb. 19, 1981: A Johnson City Press-Chronicle editorial lauded Ross Spears for writing and directing a feature-length documentary about James Agee.

Sources: Johnson City Press; Bobbie H. Shirley, Freedom Hall; Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

For more about Johnson City’s 150th Birthday, visit www.johnsoncity150.com.

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