Life and Works
Ellison was born black in Oklahoma City on March 1, 1914. As a child, he lost his father and lived in poverty, but was able to read magazines from houses that his mother cleaned and visited a local public library. He attended Tuskegee University, studying music, but left for New York City, where black novelist Richard Wright encouraged him to write, and he wrote The Invisible Man. Contradictory to Wright's characters, Ellison's characters in The Invisible Man were intelligent and self-aware. He died of pancreatic cancer on April 16, 1994.
- The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York: 1991.
- "Ellison, Ralph." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.