Long known as "the Shoals," Muscle Shoals saw its formal birth as an incorporated city in 1923. It really sprang to life in 1933, when the Tennessee Valley Authority took shape on the Tennessee River and became the nation's largest public power company. The construction crew for the Wilson Dam and power plant was one of the region's first racially integrated workforces. Some truly influential figures of the 20th century came to Muscle Shoals to witness firsthand what was unfolding in this tiny corner of the world. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford found themselves drawn to Wilson Dam and the nitrate plants in the early 1920s, as did the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. At one time, Muscle Shoals was regarded as the hit recording capital of the world. FAME studio musicians referred to as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section gained notoriety as a result of the studio's success and are part of the legacy of the Muscle Shoals sound.
Laura Flynn Tapia's family roots run deep in Muscle Shoals. Her greatgreat-grandfather helped to build Wilson Dam, and her grandfather worked for Reynolds Metals Company for 25 years. She possesses a bachelor of arts degree in English from Stephen F. Austin University and works as a freelance writer and editor. Yoshie Lewis was previously published with Arcadia in 2005 with Then & Now: Lorton. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in art history from University of California, Riverside, and a master's degree in producing film and video from American University.