As the 20th century ends, the fate of the African-American community remains a central and hotly contested focus of our national political discourse. Although American race relations, and the structure of opportunities facing most African-Americans, have dramatically improved in recent decades, daunting challenges and questions remain. This book examines the vexing reality of racial conditions in America today: improved overall, but far more complicated than they used to seem, and in important respects continually depressing. Thirteen provocative and timely essays--by some of the most highly respected experts in the nation--present thoughtful, and often-competing, assessments of African-American progress and of the prospects for its further enhancement. The authors examine the educational achievement disparities and education policy choices confronting black America; the track record of faith-based organizations in improving poor inner-city communities; the continuing impediments to residential integration; and data-based arguments for continuing affirmative action programs. The final chapter discusses the feasibility of "reaching beyond race" to build stronger political coalitions for racially-progressive policies. In addition to the editor, the authors include Edward G. Carmines, Linda Darling-Hammond, John J. DiIulio, Jr., Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Nathan Glazer, Jay P. Greene, Jennifer L. Hochschild, Christopher Jencks, Phillip Klinkner, Glenn C. Loury, Orlando Patterson, Paul E. Peterson, Meredith Phillips, Rogers Smith, Paul M. Sniderman, Abigail Thernstrom, and Stephan Thernstrom.