Symposium: Marking 75 Years Since Darrow’s Death

On the seventy-fifth anniversary of Clarence Darrow’s death, this year’s annual Darrow commemoration on Wednesday, March 13, seeks to build a bridge between Darrow’s ideals and the social injustices of our own time. This year’s program is titled “The Bridge to Darrow” with speakers Tom Geoghegan, Juan Perea and Anita Weinberg

The day begins with a brief ceremony at the Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park at 10 a.m., where Darrow’s ashes were scattered after his death and where, as a bet, he once agreed his spirit would return if it turned out communication was possible from the afterworld. For the past 56 years, through the annual commemoration ceremony and lecture, his spirit has returned—usually to remind us that his work is not yet done. This year’s speakers will focus on the labor movement and on class and race issues—exploring where Darrow stood and where we are today.

Tom Geoghegan

Tom Geoghegan

After the ritual outdoor wreath-tossing ceremony, guests will move inside to the Museum of Science and Industry’s New Columbia Room for a lecture and discussion.

Tom Geoghegan is a partner at the law firm of Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan. He has filed suits in a wide variety of public interest, labor and employment law cases, and successfully represented countless individuals who were discriminated against in the workplace due to their race, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation. Geoghegan is the author of a number of books including Which Side Are You On, an eloquent plea for the relevance of organized labor in America.

Juan Perea

Juan Perea

Juan Perea is a Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is visiting at John Marshall Law School as the Distinguished Lee Chair in Constitutional Law. His teaching and writing focuses on race and race relations, constitutional law, and employment law.


Anita Weinberg

Anita Weinberg, daughter of Darrow biographers Arthur and Lila Weinberg, and director of the ChildLaw Policy Institute at Loyola University Chicago School of Law will set the stage with a brief look at the range of Darrow’s ideals as they relate to current events. This winter the University of Chicago Press reissued Arthur Weinberg’s bestselling book, Attorney for the Damned, on the 55th anniversary of its publication. The book is a compilation of Darrow’s summations to juries in which he eloquently challenged society’s injustices.

Darrow, who died March 13, 1938, is remembered for his crusading role as “attorney for the damned” in such controversial cases as the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Leopold and Loeb murder case, and the pardoning of the Haymarket anarchists.

Darrow’s death on March 13, 1938, was memorialized throughout the world. The Darrow Bridge, where his ashes (and later those of his wife Ruby and son Paul) were scattered, was dedicated to his memory by the Chicago Park District in 1957.

Event details

Please join us at 10 a.m. at the Clarence Darrow Bridge in Jackson Park for the traditional wreath-tossing and brief speeches to commemorate Darrow; the Symposium begins at 10:45 a.m. in the Museum of Science and Industry: The NEW Columbian Room. Beverages and rolls will be served. (The Darrow Bridge is behind the Museum of Science and Industry: Driving south on Lake Shore Drive, pass the light at 57th Drive and turn right at the next light (Science Drive). You will come almost immediately to Columbia Drive. If you turn left and follow Columbia Drive there is parking near the bridge. You may park near the OmniMax Theater and walk south to the bridge. Parking is only free by the bridge.)

Download the event flier here (PDF).

Media contact: Tracy Baim, 773-387-2394,

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