Concluding thoughts

The City Beautiful movement, the McMillan Plan, and the cleansing of the alleys are strategies of reclamation and offerings of normative values and virtues. America was adjusting to new urban dynamics and some were not as willing to accept these changes. These movements to beautify and clean the city were backed by legislation, politics, and community groups, which legitimized and empowered them. The middle and upper classes had control on their side and the organization of Washington, DC reflected that. They used space to exclude those on the borders of society, especially poor African Americans. Importantly, their methods of promulgating their ideals invoked the refined class value of subtlety. The documents, plans, and studies are all careful to focus on other issues of planning and demographics than race and class. It was a matter of international repute, of disease and filth, of crime, of public space, but not of poverty or blackness or otherness.