William Jennings Bryan

One of the most celebrated speeches of 19th Century American politics was recorded in Richmond for posterity.

William Jennings Bryan, noted orator and statesman, was a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for the presidency three times.

He used the Bible as a weapon, and early on was against the adoption of the gold standard, instead favoring silver, saying, “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

Bryan had been in Richmond several times, one time to record his famous ‘Cross of Gold’ speech at Gennett Records in Starr Valley on July 3, 1923.

He also got involved with the Scopes ‘monkey’ trial, involving a schoolteacher arrested for teaching evolution in a Tennessee public schoolroom. It would later be transformed into a classic play, "Inherit the Wind," and Byran, who unsuccessfully ran for the presidency three times, would go down in history as one of America’s greatest political losers.

Despite the controversy, William Jennings Bryan's Cross of Gold speech, originally delivered at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, was recorded at Richmond's Gennett studio, and saved for posterity as one of the most famous speeches in political history.



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June 19, 2012