FEBRUARY 21, 1955
CHICAGO—I was met at the airport in Knoxville by Gilbert Stewart, Jr., who was one of the people in the U.S. Mission when I worked with it. He now lives in Knoxville, and it was very nice to see him again and to have dinner in the evening with his family at home, where I also met two of the directors of TVA, Dr. Curtis and Dr. Paty.
Mr. Stewart kindly arranged a trip for Saturday after I had mentioned that it was a long time since I had seen any of TVA in operation. Before leaving for Chicago, I therefore had an opportunity to see some of the work accomplished in recent years.
On Friday morning arrangements were made by the American Association of University Women, who sponsored my talk, to allow me to see something in the afternoon of the remarkable work that is done at Oak Ridge.
There I visited the American Museum of Atomic Energy, which is the first of its kind in the world. It displays and demonstrates the unfolding story of atomic energy, and is operated by the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission and its contractors. I was particularly interested to find that the University of Tennessee is conducting a comprehensive farm research program on a 3000-acre tract. One phase of their program is a study of the breeding records of cattle accidentally exposed to radiation effects following the test explosion of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. These tests should provide valuable data for the very important discussion now going on as to the possible effects on human beings exposed to radiation.
This area, since the establishment of TVA, seems to me to have prospered enormously. I recently read that a Republican Congressman had called the whole TVA project socialistic and communistic. If this be so, then it has certainly done marvels for private enterprise in this area. The record of the increase in private industry and business, and the use of power on farms even throughout the mountain areas, is astonishing to someone who has not been here for several years. Almost all of this power is distributed through cooperatives and municipally owned plants.
Because the city of Oak Ridge was built by the U.S. government and is government-owned property, I was told by a newspaperwoman who came to see me from there, it will be one of the first Southern areas actually to put into practice desegregation in schools. One can only hope that it will be wisely and carefully done so that it may help develop a pattern for other areas in the South.