Ralph Ellison – American novelist

Ralph Ellison Family, wife Books, Quotes, Works, Biography, Education, Invisible Man, Short Stories

Bio, Wiki
Full NameRalph Waldo Ellison
ProfessionWriter, Academic, Author, Literary Critic, Educator
GenreEssay, criticism, novel, short story
Notable worksInvisible Man
Notable awardsNational Book Award (1953)
National Medal of Arts (1985)
Date of BirthMarch 1, 1913
Birth PlaceOklahoma City (OK) (United States)
Date Of DeathApril 16, 1994
Place of DeathNew York, New York
Zodiac SingsPisces
ParentsFather : Lewis Alfred Ellison
Mother: Ida Millsap
EducationTuskegee University
SpouseRose Poindexter m. 1938–1943
Short stories
“Heine’s Bull,” 1937.

“Slick Gonna Learn,” 1939.

“The Birthmark,” New Masses, 1940.

“Mister Toussan,” New Masses, 1941.

“Hying Home,” Cross-section, 1944.

“King of the Bingo Game,” Tomorrow, 1944.

“In a Strange Country,” Tomorrow, 1944.

“Did You Ever Dream Lucky?,” New World Writing, 1954.

“A Coupla Scalped Indians,” New World Writing, 1956.

“And Hickman Arrives,” 1960.

“The Roof, the Steeple, and the People,” 1960.

“Out of the Hospital and Under the Bar,” 1963.

“Tell It Like It Is Baby,” 1965.

“Cadillac Flambé,” 1973.

BooksTrading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray
The Black Ball
Trading twelves
Living with Music (2001)
Three Days Before the Shooting… (2010)
The collected essays of Ralph Ellison
Flying home and other stories (1972)
Going to the territory (1986)
Juneteenth (novel)
Shadow and Act (1964)
Invisible Man (1952)
Ralph Ellison Quotes
Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.
I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.
Education is all a matter of building bridges.
Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.
Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked.
The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.
Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.
If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison, and destroy.
The end is in the beginning and lies far ahead.

Some Ralph Ellison Interesting Facts

  • Ralph Waldo Ellison  was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar. Ellison is best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953.
  • He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986).
  • For The New York Times, the best of these essays in addition to the novel put him “among the gods of America’s literary Parnassus.
  • “A posthumous novel, Juneteenth, was published after being assembled from voluminous notes he left upon his death.
  • Ralph Waldo Ellison, named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born at 407 East First Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Millsap, on March 1, 1913.
  • He was the second of three sons; firstborn Alfred died in infancy, and younger brother Herbert Maurice (or Millsap) was born in 1916.
  • Ellison applied twice for admission to Tuskegee Institute, the prestigious all-black university in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington.
  • Desiring to study sculpture and photography, he moved to New York City on 5 July 1936 and found lodging at a YMCA on 135th Street in Harlem, then “the culture capital of black America.”
  • In 1938 Ellison met Rosa Araminta Poindexter, a woman two years his senior. They were married in late 1938. Rose was a stage actress, and continued her career after their marriage.
  • At the start of World War II, Ellison was classed 1A by the local Selective Service System, and thus eligible for the draft. However, he was not drafted. Toward the end of the war, he enlisted in the Merchant Marine service.
  • :67 In 1946, he married Fanny McConnell, an accomplished person in her own right: a scholarship graduate of the University of Iowa who was a founder of the Negro People’s Theater in Chicago and a writer for The Chicago Defender.
  • She helped support Ellison financially while he wrote Invisible Man by working for American Medical Center for Burma Frontiers (the charity supporting Gordon S. Seagrave’s medical missionary work ). From 1947 to 1951, he earned some money writing book reviews but spent most of his time working on Invisible Man. Fanny also helped type Ellison’s longhand text  and assisted him in editing the typescript as it progressed.
  • In 1992, Ellison was awarded a special achievement award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards; his artistic achievements included work as a sculptor, musician, photographer, and college professor as well as his writing output.

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