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Conversations Book Club: Stony the Road

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Mount Pleasant OnlineRoom
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
315 Academy Avenue
Providence, RI 02908

Join the conversation this month through Zoom to discuss STONY THE ROAD by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

About this Event

Conversations Book Club features authors and characters from marginalized groups. We meet on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30PM through Zoom. Copies of the latest book are on display and available to check out at the Mount Pleasant Library. New members: REGISTER HERE to get the Zoom link. 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

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 story Gates tells begins with great hope, with the Emancipation Proclamation, Union victory, and the liberation of nearly 4 million enslaved African-Americans. 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.

An essential tour through one of America's fundamental historical tragedies, Stony the Road is also a story of heroic resistance, as figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells fought to create a counter-narrative, and culture, inside the lion's mouth. As sobering as this tale is, it also has within it the inspiration that comes with encountering the hopes our ancestors advanced against the longest odds.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING NEXT

March 2021 - Transcendent Kingdom by Yaya Gyasi

April 2021 - So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

May 2021 - Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

June 2021 - Stamped by Jason Reynolds

July 2021 - Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

August 2021 - Begin Again by Eddie N. Glaude

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Dhana Whiteing
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