Award-winning author Randall Kenan, known for his stylish short story collection, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, checks the pulse of Black America at the close of the 1990s with an extensive cross-country survey, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. The question asked was: "What does it mean to be black?" The respondents cover the spectrum of the black experience, including a former gang member, a welfare mother, a judge, a business type, and a host of others of every social stripe. Kenan asks all the right questions; even Chicago talkmeister Studs Turkel couldn't have done a better job.

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