Southern History Month 2019: The TVA

Once upon a time, progressives weren’t obsessed with retarded things like tearing down statues, flag burning or arguing with populists about the color of their Yang hats:

“In 1933 throughout the valley, unemployment was endemic, mountains had been slashed and burned, a barter economy was widespread, and spring flooding was taken for granted. By constructing 16 dams within 12 years, the TVA put thousands of people to work and provided untold opportunities for the development of skills among a largely untutored rural workforce. To further assist its workforce, the TVA encouraged the establishment of unions and collective bargaining with its employees. It also pursued a policy of working with landowners to increase the production and use of trees in ways that would assist in erosion control and watershed protection. And, as it generated electricity, rates came down so that electricity became easily available.

Through the Electric Home and Farm Authority, the TVA facilitated the purchase of low-cost appliances. Before the advent of TVA, 97 percent of the people had no electricity; within three decades thereafter, it was universally available. In helping to ease the lives of an undernourished, deprived, rural population, the TVA helped create opportunities for a better life that agency officials as well as many in government hoped could be emulated elsewhere.

The TVA also pioneered in the development of rural regional libraries and helped to improve county school systems and to create parks throughout the region. Plans, ordinances, and codes developed in villages constructed by the TVA at various dam sites were usually adopted by the councils of these communities as they were absorbed into the structure of county government. Many practices, notably the TVA’s emphasis on uniform accounting, were adopted by municipalities and other local and state government agencies.

One of the notable changes the TVA accomplished, initially through the slight raising and lowering of water levels at various dams, was the eradication of malaria, previously considered endemic throughout a large portion of the valley. Before TVA came into the valley, at least a third of the people suffered from malaria. By making the river navigable; by providing a nine-foot channel from Knoxville to Paducah, where it entered the Ohio River; and by providing cheaper electricity, the TVA helped make cities and surrounding areas attractive to commercial and industrial ventures, furthering the economic development of the valley states. Moreover, research conducted at the TVA National Fertilizer Development Center at Muscle Shoals, AL, developed and encouraged the use of inexpensive phosphate fertilizers, thereby assisting farmers in the valley, throughout the nation, and in other countries as well to increase their yields and to combat the erosion of their soils. Through various programs the TVA encouraged valley farmers in organizing cooperatives to bring electricity to their farms and in weaning them away from an agriculture largely based on cotton and corn …”



We’ve got a lot more things like this to discuss during Southern History Month 2019: to name a few, rural electrification, the eradication of pellagra, polio, malaria, yellow fever and malnutrition in the South, the mechanization of agriculture, the increase in crop yields, the creation of National Parks in the South like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, how public roads and parks were built all over the South in the 20th century, the end of sharecropping and debt peonage in Dixie, the end of child labor, the regulation of railroads, the introduction of labor laws, the creation of land grant colleges, the rise of historical preservation efforts, the regulation of investment banking by Southerners during the Great Depression, the agricultural extension services which introduced crop diversification to the South, how the whitetail deer and wild turkey were hunted to extinction and reintroduced in the South, soil erosion under free-market capitalism and reforestation, how the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers were tamed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, how NASA put men on the moon from the South, etc.

Note: We actually were Venezuela before 1929. No joke.

I’m not as hostile to progressivism as some conservatives and lolbertarians because I remember a time when it wasn’t focused on hating White people and transgender pronouns. The excerpt above comes from p.155 of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Environment.

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  1. Damned dams.

    I had family members who lost farmland to the TVA, for which they were never compensated. The dams also caused tremendous ecological damage; they drowned some of the most pristine river valleys in all of America and eventually those valleys are all going to fill up with toxic silt.

    As for electrification and farm mechanization, well, one only need visit the local WalMart to see what effect that’s had on the working poor of America.

  2. And now we’re reduced to GOP-controlled areas that won’t even spend money repaving roads or repairing traffic lights because freedoms and socialism or something..

    In fact, the area of Alabama I live in has dire need of road/light repair, but that’s too much big government according to the cucks who control city council.

  3. I watched those same videos, and saw nothing but good. Yes, of course, eminent domain exists. But I’ve also seen ‘hollers’ that still exist in other parts of the South, where the abject poverty still aches to view. What we knew then, we know better today. It’s ALWAYS a pendulum swing. But from the cantankerous, negative comments above, one would think that ANY ‘improvement’ in the ‘Garden’ given to Man to till and keep, is evil according to these sourpusses. HW, I don’t know how you suffer such idiots to comment on your platform, who are always bellyaching.

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