cover of book

The Greater Good: Media, Family Removal, and TVA Dam Construction in North Alabama
by Laura Beth Daws and Susan Lorene Brinson
University of Alabama Press, 2019
Cloth: 978-0-8173-2008-9 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-9221-5
Library of Congress Classification TC557.A2D39 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 627.809761909043

Examines the role of press coverage in promoting the mission of the TVA, facilitating family relocation, and formulating the historical legacy of the New Deal
For poverty-stricken families in the Tennessee River Valley during the Great Depression, news of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal plans to create the Tennessee Valley Authority—bringing the promise of jobs, soil conservation, and electricity—offered hope for a better life. The TVA dams would flood a considerable amount of land on the riverbanks, however, forcing many families to relocate. In exchange for this sacrifice for the “greater good,” these families were promised “fair market value” for their land. As the first geographic location to benefit from the electricity provided by TVA, the people of North Alabama had much to gain, but also much to lose.
In The Greater Good: Media, Family Removal, and TVA Dam Construction in North Alabama Laura Beth Daws and Susan L. Brinson describe the region’s preexisting conditions, analyze the effects of relocation, and argue that local newspapers had a significant impact in promoting the TVA’s agenda. The authors contend that it was principally through newspapers that local residents learned about the TVA and the process and reasons for relocation. Newspapers of the day encouraged regional cooperation by creating an overwhelmingly positive image of the TVA, emphasizing its economic benefits and disregarding many of the details of removal.
Using mostly primary research, the volume addresses two key questions: What happened to relocated families after they sacrificed their homes, lifestyles, and communities in the name of progress? And what role did mediated communication play in both the TVA’s family relocation process and the greater movement for the public to accept the TVA’s presence in their lives? The Greater Good offers a unique window into the larger impact of the New Deal in the South. Until now, most research on the TVA was focused on organizational development rather than on families, with little attention paid to the role of the media in garnering acceptance of a government-enforced relocation.

See other books on: Alabama | Media | New Deal, 1933-1939 | Press coverage | Propaganda
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