D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray dismissed suggestions of an effort to push African-Americans out of the city in response to a recent newspaper column.
Ivy City residents in northeast Washington are fighting a city plan to allow a commercial bus depot on the grounds of the historically protected but abandoned Crummell School. The citizens won a court injunction delaying the project while issues are explored.
Veteran Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy is castigating the city's project, saying it tramples on poor African-Americans who are struggling to revive their neighborhood. Milloy revives a long-held belief among some that there is a so-called orchestrated plan to remove African-Americans from their prominence in Washington.
"And if a bunch of low-income residents would have to breathe air filled with carcinogenic diesel exhaust to make it happen, so be it."
Mayor Gray mostly laughed off the notion.
“I've been in this city all my life and I've heard about the plan for decades and I'm still looking for the plan,” he said. “If somebody has a copy of it, I’d love to see it so that the next time that I talk about it I could really present a document that says here is the plan. I know nothing about any bus lot that is designed to evict people from the District of Columbia.”
Some activists -- angry at the mayor's reaction -- said it's not funny that low-income African-Americans are subjected to exhaust fumes and traffic. Gray said his administration takes their plight seriously.
“I've been here all my life and I’m certainly not going to be a part of any plan to move people out of the District of Columbia, and so anything that we would do would not be intended to contribute to that.”
Milloy told News4 he was using the plan image as a measure of the fear and anger that many African-Americans feel, that they aren't being heard while developers are.