Prize-winning novelist Naylor has assembled an impressive collection of 41 contemporary African-American stories that range in subject matter across black history. Organized around historical motifs in African-American writing--""Remembering,"" ""Affirming,"" ""Revealing the Self Divided,"" and ""Moving On""--Naylor's collection gives spiritual coherence to the black experience, with its best stories amplifying this coherence in dazzling ways: John Edgar Wideman's ""Damballah,"" a meditation on paternity in the African tradition; Ralph Ellison's ""Backwacking, A Plea to the Senator,"" a riotously cryptic satire on white racism; and Terry McMillan's ""Ma' Dear,"" a loving sketch of an indefatigable black matriarch. Slavery and its legacy are also charted in a brilliant allegory by science fiction writer Samuel Delaney, ""The Tale of Gorgik,"" and a typically poignant talk (""Meditations on History"") by historical realist Sherley Anne Williams. Among the distinguished but lesser-knowns are Colleen McElroy's touching ""The Woman Who Would Eat Flowers"" and Jess Mowry's quixotic, disturbing, experimental ""Crusader Rabbit."" This collection's greatest reward, however, is its inclusion of unheralded fine work by the likes of Jewelle Gomez, Thomas Glave, and Edwidge Danticat. Naylor's selections are solid and eclectic, buttressed with brief biographical sketches of contributors. In style, voice, temper, and tone, then, a wonderfully diverse contribution to the renaissance in black short-story writing.