“We’re New — We Don’t Have Any Customs”

Two films about the Tennessee Valley Authority stress its utopian promise and the lives that had to be destroyed to fulfill it.

Construction of Fort Loudoun Dam on the Tennessee River began in 1940 and was completed in 1943. It still generates 151 megawatts of electricity a day.

If you want to be moved in complex ways by the lost ideal of great American infrastructure as a boon to a democratic society, I can recommend a film experience for you. First, watch the 1944 documentary short Valley of the Tennessee. It pays tribute to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federally owned utility […]

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