Writer. Born March 1, 1913 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He studied music at Tuskegee Institute before moving to New York City to study sculpture. A protégé of Richard Wright, whom he met in 1937, he wrote reviews, essays, and short stories.
Ellison spent seven years writing Invisible Man (1952, National Book Award), and although it was his only novel it gained him a place as a respected American writer and remains one of the central texts of the African-American experience. His other major work, Shadow and Act (1964), is a collection of his essays and interviews, and the short story, Flying Home, was published posthumously in 1996.
After teaching at various universities, he became the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at New York University (1970–9). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969.
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