Little Known Black History Fact: Ralph Ellison

Black America Web

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Author Ralph Ellison is perhaps best known for his 1952 landmark novel, Invisible Man. What some might not know is that Ellison was also a musician, educator, and a World War II veteran over the course of his rich life.

Born March 1, 1914 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Ralph Waldo Ellison was named after journalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ellison lost his father, Lewis, when he was just three years of age, leaving his mother to raise him and his brother alone. Reading, music and education was a hallmark of the Ellison home. As a a young amen, Ellison enrolled at Tuskegee Institute as a trumpeter with hopes of becoming a symphony composer.

A trip to New York in 1936 changed Ellison’s fortunes. Ellison visited the city to earn enough money to pay for his college expenses, but ended up moving there. He joined the New York Federal…

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