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Last week, when the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced plans to build a 20-foot-long, 3-foot-high wall at the 6th Street and Florida Avenue entrance to the LeDroit Park neighborhood, alarm bells went off for some longtime residents. According to neighborhood tour guide Lauretta Jackson, when LeDroit Park was built, in the 1870s, its white residents fenced themselves in and hired a gatekeeper. The fence, part of which ran along DDOT’s proposed site, was torn down by angry Howard University students in 1888, rebuilt by the residents, and then torn down again a few years later. The proposed wall would bear a plaque welcoming visitors to the neighborhood. But resident Constance Thomas-Razza says, “That wall says, ‘Stay the hell out.’” Pleading ignorance of the wall’s historical connotations, DDOT Program Manager Bob Irwin explains that he has already set up a committee to establish an “entrance feature” that will be more agreeable to residents.

—Bidisha Banerjee