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Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (2019)

de Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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505748,738 (3.85)14
"A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the 'nadir' of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The book will be accompanied by a new PBS documentary series on the same topic, with full promotional support from PBS"--… (mais)
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In the preface to Stony The Road, historian Henry Louis Gates recalls his early interest in Reconstruction during college and how that ultimately led to this book all these years later. Readers and history buffs looking for a detailed and documented — if somewhat dry — look at the period following the Civil War into the early 20th century need look no further than this small but packed book. Gates dissects and explains the history with buckets of primary sources from the famous (W.E.B. DuBois, etc.) to the unknown and leaves no theory unexamined. Not a light read, but definitely worthwhile for those interested in a deep dive into the period. ( )
  Hccpsk | Oct 21, 2023 |
Henry Louis Gates book "Stony the Road" has some excellent information about Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow laws in the South. However, I found much of the material to be somewhat dry as presented. Gates gives the reader a rather academic review of ​the writings and views of ​various writers and black leaders of that era, and talks of how and why Reconstruction in the South failed after the Civil War. While the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution ​officially ​ended slavery and gave equality and the right to vote to blacks, the intended benefits were short lived.

White stereotypes dominated in the post Civil War period, ​in both the North and the South. Also, there was the 300-year history of slavery practices and lack of education to overcome, "Sambo" stereotypes about black behaviors embedded in the South, and a number of influential 18th Century social scientist's​ studies which purported ​to show ​that blacks were ​inferior to whites, or even that they were ​a sub-human species. Together, these influences helped create multiple ways to keep blacks subjugated, even after the repeal of slavery.

It wasn't long before the Courts issued "separate but (un)equal" rulings, which had the effect of preventing true equality and freedom for blacks, especially in the South. Soon after, Confederate State Constitutions​,​ written ​before these States could ​rejoin​ ​the Union​,​ were undone. Reconstruction efforts stopped,​ ​and southern blacks became disenfranchised. A new form of oppression under Jim Crow laws took effect in the South. With no vote, southern blacks had few rights, and the KKK and lynchings kept southern blacks oppressed.​ Gates writes about the struggle for black equality during this period, how a number of black leaders fought the stereotypes through words and example. However, it wasn't until the Civil Rights legislation in the 1960's were enacted that many of these hardships began to unravel.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Difficult but important read. ( )
  aezull | Jun 14, 2021 |
this is chock full of information and an excellent reference to keep for the future. i'm sure that i'll look back at it to refresh my memory about certain events or people, or for the historical illustrations. there is really a lot of information here.

as a book to read, it's quite academic and tough to get through. i think, in fact, that it probably loses some of the audience who can benefit from this information. i'll need to work through it again to make sure i didn't miss stuff and to remind myself of what i'm sure i've already forgotten.

"Being an advocate of the abolition of slavery was not the same thing as being a proponent of the fundamental equality of black and white people, or the unity of the human species..., to say nothing of equal citizenship rights and equal protection under the law."

"After all, when the smoke cleared after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, cotton still had to be picked, and the Negro's labor had to be exploited as ruthlessly and as effectively as possible. Any expectation of "equal rights" or "equal protection of the law" had to be obliterated, and the massive potential of the black male vote in key Southern states thwarted, if the old order of a slave-based Confederate society was to be reestablished as seamlessly as possible." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Mar 4, 2021 |
The day I finished this book, I read a news story about an effort to interpret one of the Reconstruction acts to favor a corporation over communities of African-Americans, bringing home the message of Gates's book: African-Americans have had to struggle throughout their history, but particularly since the end of the Civil War, against white supremacist and racist acts, images and words which seek to keep them subordinate not only to whites but to corporate needs. Some of the impact, a large part of the impact, for me was in the images Gates has collected to illustrate how white Americans have consistently denied humanity to African-Americans. I had not realized how pervasive this was throughout our shared history. ( )
1 vote nmele | Sep 5, 2019 |
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"A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the 'nadir' of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The book will be accompanied by a new PBS documentary series on the same topic, with full promotional support from PBS"--

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