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

Penguin. Apr. 2019. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780525559535. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780525559542. HIST
OrangeReviewStarHistorian Gates (Alphonse Fletcher Univ. Professor, dir. the Hutchins Ctr. for African and African American Research, Harvard Univ.; Life Upon These Shores) has long been fascinated with the idea of the "New Negro," and how African Americans fought back against white supremacy during the Redemption and Jim Crow periods. In this work (its title a lyric from the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing"), the author asserts that this era is fundamental to understanding the current period of racist backlash following Barack Obama's presidency. Borrowing heavily from historians such as Eric Foner and David W. Blight, Gates covers the basics of Reconstruction, the pseudoscience of racism in the field of anthropology, lynching and racial violence across America, and widespread commercial use of stereotypes such as Sambo and Aunt Jemima, and how African Americans continually strived to disprove this onslaught of bigotry through education, literature, art, music, and political organizing. A large number of photographs and illustrations back up his argument of just how unrelenting white supremacy was in this period.
VERDICT An excellent introduction to the Redemption period for new readers and a reminder to experts of why the era is still so crucial to American history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing