– I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.
– Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked.
– I am an invisible man. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
– The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life.
Ralph Ellison Memorial
150th Street and Riverside Drive, New New York, NY
Sculptor: Elizabeth Catlett
Ralph Ellison: An American Journey locates the origins of Ralph Ellison’s artistic and intellectual aspirations in his upwardly mobile family who left the South for the relative racial fluidity of the newly ratified state of Oklahoma and named their son after poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ellison attended Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship, but he found himself increasingly drawn to modernist literature and writing. He would later fuse elements of Eliot, Hemingway and Black folklore in the dizzying style of the jazz that he played and loved.
After Ellison moved to New York, he associated with the Federal Writers Project and became a protegee of Richard Wright, who encouraged him to choose writing over music. After publishing short stories, articles and reviews, Ellison typed the words, “I am an invisible man” and began the seven-year journey that paid off in his masterpiece.
excerpted from above link