Book review: Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Stony the Road (Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow) by Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a history text. The book is dry and factual; not exciting. If you want to know the various ways that Black Americans were attacked and used as the antithesis of White; this book is a top resource. Today many of us know that people believe what they want to believe, but illiterate former slaves had to deal with an array of forces working to humiliate and diminish them. White was ultimately defined as everyone with European origins viewing and working to keep Black people inferior. Doctors, scientists, journalists, etc. were all in on a conspiracy to feed White egos and marginalize Black ones. Details are a strength of this book; the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and his White supremacist policies, racist movies like “Birth of a Nation” (1915), Whites feeling anxious about Black troops coming back from World War I leading to the terrorist Red Summer of 1919. The book starts with Reconstruction after the Civil War and follows the hellish reality the Black Americans lived with through the 1920s. If you want to understand more about the history of White Supremacy in America put this book on your list.

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