Hidden In the City
One comment for L’Enfant plan of Washington D.C. is that urban renewal is designed to “enlighten its inhabitants respecting their true interests” (10 Hallet). However, Washington D.C. that should respect every race and every citizen of U.S. fails to concern African Americans. This optimistic statement about urban renewal lures people from different states to believe that reconstruction of Washington D.C. would bring positive impact to any issue associated with its citizens. Therefore, people become blind to another side of Washington D.C. and its urban renewal. Urban renewal does not concern African Americans’ true interest but instead put them in a shadow. Edward P. Jones argues that urban renewal forces African Americans to be removed from the city to purify or “whiten” the city to look more attractive and innocent over its dark side. Indeed urban renewal was Negro removal to benefit the city while, as Jones argues, making African Americans in Washington D.C. invisible to the rest of the world.
In his short story collection, Lost in the City, Edward P. Jones argues that the government that should have protected citizens’ “true interest” disconnects the strong relationship between the black folks and destroys their enclosed community by urban renewal or Negro removal. African Americans live in shadow where government does not really concern. Indeed, while the urban renewal constructs Washington D.C. more attractive and visible as a capital of U.S., the government force the African Americans to be invisible, hidden in the city that they do not get any recognition and instead disappear or “lost in the city” for the good of Washington D.C.
“The girl who raised pigeons,” the first story of Lost in the City, expresses that the strongly bonded community is key to African American’s survival in Washington D.C. before urban renewal emerges. In the beginning, Betsy Ahn tries to interact with pigeons by “sharing whatever the silence seemed to...