The Question and Answer section for The New Jim Crow is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
In this context, the author is claiming that the Civil Rights were symbolic (figurative) and meant to pacify.... they didn't prove effective.
Liberalism- Cited government hypocrisy. Condemned government celebration of equlaity and freedom in a racist society.
Conservatism- Conservatives blamed liberals for pushing blacks ahead of their proper station in life and placing blacks in...
This would be interpreted to mean a negative or adverse reaction. In context, the word is used to describe the reaction to African American gains after Reconstruction by whites, who reacted with outrage and panic.