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FROM AROUND THE WEB & IN PRINT Stony the Road

- HENRY LOUIS GATES JR

Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr. is 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 story Gates tells begins with great hope, with the Emancipati­on Proclamati­on, Union victory, and the liberation of nearly 4 million enslaved AfricanAme­ricans. Until 1877, the federal government, goaded by the activism of

Frederick Douglass and many others, tried at various turns to sustain their new rights. But the terror unleashed by white paramilita­ry groups in the former Confederac­y, combined with deteriorat­ing economic conditions and a loss of Northern will, restored home rule to the South. The retreat from Reconstruc­tion was followed by one of the most violent periods in our history, with thousands of black people murdered or lynched and many more afflicted by the degrading imposition­s of Jim Crow

segregatio­n.

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