"The Right Mistake" by Walter Mosley.
"Who do you see when you look in the mirror?"...."Do you see a black man in the reflection or is the first thing you think, that's me in the glass?"....We all locked up away from each other and from ourselves, talkin' 'bout I'm this and he's that. But when we look in the mirror the cell come open. The lock break and all that bullshit go right out the door."
Socrates Fortlow is a now 'freed' longtime felon, whose world view is immaculate in it's compassion and wisdom - either in spite of, or because of, his history.
He can't leave his cell behind in his mind. Socrates needs nothing from anyone to survive, and yet he manages almost by accident to reach out and gather together the members of his diverse urban community.
Walter Mosley created the 'Easy Rawlins' character, and demonstates his talents again with this worthwhile read.