In the 1930s, a new “public works” project is proposed in Medallion, Ohio: a road that will connect the black neighborhood of the Bottom with some of the surrounding white communities. While it’s not explicitly stated, Morrison implies that this project is a product of Roosevelt’s New Deal, implying an agreement between the federal government and more overtly racist government agencies of the state of Ohio. It’s not until the end of Sula that the “New River Road” is shown for what it really is. More than a decade after the road was proposed, it’s still not finished. Whenever the local authorities deny healthcare to the blacks in the Bottom, or charge extra rent, the stated reason is always the same: it’s a sacrifice, necessary for the completion of the road, which will benefit everyone—including the black people in the Bottom—equally. But when the residents of the Bottom march to the New River Road, they see the reality of it: a dirty pile of bricks that will never be finished. In all, the road is a tragic symbol of the deception and manipulation that American authorities have used to prolong black suffering.
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The timeline below shows where the symbol The New River Road appears in Sula. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...describe Jude Greene. Jude longs for a challenging physical job—he wants to work on the New River Road . He also craves the camaraderie of working alongside people who are like him. He... (full context)