Ralph Ellison
Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The United StatesMarch 01, 1913
Died April 16, 1994
GenreLiterature & Fiction, Politics, Nonfiction
InfluencesHemingway, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Louis Armstrong, Richard Wright, …more
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Ralph Ellison was a scholar and writer. He was born Ralph Waldo Ellison in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, named by his father after Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ellison was 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 book, Juneteenth, was published after being assembled from voluminous notes he left after his death.

Ellison died of Pancreatic Cancer on April 16, 1994. He was eighty-one years old