Defending Utopia: The Greenbelt News Review at 80
Defending Utopia: The Greenbelt News Review at 80 tells the story of a courageous home town newspaper and the battles it fought on behalf of its citizens.
In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal planners launched an extraordinary home-building experiment in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Greenbelt, Maryland was the most controversial of three suburban “green towns” designed to relieve Depression-era housing shortages. Residents were selected for their willingness to create a healthy, happy and harmonious community.
But critics charged that the “utopian” green towns project was foolishly idealistic, wasted taxpayer dollars and tat Greenbelt’s many non-profit cooperatives were dangerously socialistic, if not communistic.
Since 1937, though, a volunteer-run weekly newspaper has defended a city Eleanor Roosevelt called “the first garden community in the land, planned for the uplift and unfolding of the human.” And in a 1970 libel case before the Supreme Court, the Greenbelt News Review fought to protect for all newspapers the First Amendment freedoms critical to American democracy.