Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the year 1914, Ralph Ellison was a celebrated National Book Award winner for his novel “Invisible Man”. He was awarded this this title in the year 1953. Even though he was best known for this novel, that is not all Ralph Ellison was. Ralph Ellison, besides being was novelist was an acclaimed writer, critic and scholar. His famous work on “Shadow and Art” was a collection of social, political and critical essays. He also wrote Going to the Territory in the year 1986.
Ralph Ellison was born to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Millsap. His father died when Ralph was three years old due to stomach ulcers. Growing up, Ralph discovered his talent for being a poet. In the year 1933, Ellison took admission in the Tuskegee Institute on a scholarship in order to pursue music. Belonging to the most renowned music department, Ralph studied music under the wings of its conductor William L. Dawson. During his study as a musician, Ralph was cited in the library of the institute studying modernist classics. It is said to be the most awakening moment of his life where he realized his true potential and went on to becoming a renowned writer and critic.
After his four years of study the Tuskegee Institute, Ralph moved to New York City to study photography and sculptor. In New York City he met the famous artist Romare Bearden and the author Richard Wright. With Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison established a long and nurturing relationship. Ralph wrote a book review for Richard Wright and he was so impressed with his writing capabilities that he Ellison to pursue a career in writing, fiction specifically. “Hymie’s Bull” was the first published story by Ralph that was inspired by his hoboing on a train with his uncle in order to get to Tuskegee. Ralph has 20 book reviews to his credit, which he wrote between the years 1937 to 1944. He also wrote articles and short stories that went on to being published in different magazines. New Masses and New Challenge were one of the few pieces of his writing.