Thursday, July 3, 2014 his own words

Ralph Ellison (1913-1994) was a talented man.  He went to the Tuskegee Institute to study music, left for New York after three years to study photography and sculpture, and became the author of one of America's great books, The Invisible Man. You can read more about him here and here.  Here are a few things he wrote:

“Life is to be lived, not controlled;  and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” 

“What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?” 

“I am an invisible man.   
No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: 
 Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms.  
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, simply because people refuse to see me.”

“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest.   Or when, even as just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth.   No one was satisfied”

“Good fiction is made of that which is real, and reality is difficult to come by.”

"Commercial rock ’n’ roll music is a brutalization of the stream of contemporary Negro church music … an obscene looting of a cultural expression."  (1964)

"America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description."

“Nothing, storm or flood, must get in the way of our need for light and ever more and brighter light. The truth is the light and light is the truth.” 

“He's only a man. Remember that. He's only a man!” 

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