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This Review examines the significance of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s new book, Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow, for the study of racism in our nation's legal system and for the regulation of race in the legal profession, especially in the everyday labor of civil-rights and poverty lawyers, prosecutors, and public defenders. Surprisingly, few have explored the relevance of the racial narratives distilled by Gates in Stony the Roa - the images, stereotypes, and tropes that Whites constructed of Blacks to deepen and ensure the life and legacy of white supremacy-to the practice of law inside civil-rights and criminal-justice systems and, more generally, to critical theories of race, the persistence of racism, and race-conscious legal representation. To that end, this Review interrogates and reimagines how race should be situated in the legal representation of clients of color. Building upon Gates's discussion of the images and counternarratives created by Blacks as forms of resistance, it examines how those tools can be a means for galvanizing struggles against antiblack racism in the United States in the past and today.

Read from the intersection of theory and practice, Gates's Stony the Road offers several instructive lessons on race and legal representation germane to lawyers, judges, and academics. The first lesson is that the white-supremacist tropes, narratives, and images of the postbellum periods of Redemption and Jim Crow segregation continue to frame our legal consciousness of race, effectively shaping the roles, mediating the relationships, and organizing the methods of the lawyering process in civil-rights, poverty-law, and criminal cases. The second lesson is that the trials of these cases provide a forum for lawyers, judges, jurors, and even witnesses to race-code the identity of accused and convicted offenders, impoverished clients, and victims of discrimination in ways that reify those tropes and diminish the agency of individuals, groups, and communities of color. The third lesson is that the trial of such cases also affords lawyers and clients meaningful, collaborative opportunities to reframe race-coded identity and provide new visions of self, namings, and identities. Such reframing can recover the presence of black agency, enhance the exercise of black power, and contextualize the impact of systemic racism on individuals, groups, and communities as a whole.