||"A profound new rendering of the struggle by African Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counterrevolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring stain on the American mind. The story of the abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar one, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: If emancipation came in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In a history that moves from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African American experience, brings a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual to answer that question. Interwoven with this history, Stony the Road examines America's first postwar clash of images utilizing modern mass media to divide, overwhelm--and resist. Enforcing a stark color line and ensuring the rollback of the rights of formerly enslaved people, racist images were reproduced on an unprecedented scale thanks to advances in technology such as chromolithography, which enabled their widespread dissemination in advertisements, on postcards, and on an astonishing array of everyday objects. Yet, during the same period when the Supreme Court stamped 'separate but equal' as the law of the land, African Americans advanced the concept of the 'New Negro' to renew the fight for Reconstruction's promise. Against the steepest of odds, they waged war by other means: countering depictions of black people as ignorant, debased, and inhuman with images of a vanguard of educated and upstanding black women and men who were talented, cosmopolitan, and urbane. The story Gates tells begins with Union victory in the Civil War and the liberation of nearly four million enslaved people. But the terror unleashed by white paramilitary groups in the former Confederacy, combined with deteriorating economic conditions and diminished Northern will, restored 'home rule' to the South. One of the most violent periods in our history followed the retreat from Reconstruction, with thousands of African Americans murdered or lynched and many more afflicted by the degrading impositions of Jim Crow segregation. An essential tour through one of America's fundamental historical tragedies, [this book] is also a story of heroic resistance, as figures from Frederick Douglass to W E. B. Du Bois created a counternarrative, and culture, inside the lion's mouth. Gates charts the noble struggle of black people to defeat racism and force the country to honor the 'new birth of freedom' that Lincoln pledged would be the legacy of the Civil War, and uncovers the roots of racism in our time. Understanding this bitter struggle is essential if America's deepest wounds are ever truly to heal."--Dust jacket.