On this day in history, March 1, 1913, noted American author and essayist Ralph Waldo Ellison was born in Oklahoma City, OK. His book, Invisible Man, published in 1952 and awarded the National Book of the Year award for Fiction in 1953, would be ranked as one of the top 100 English language novels of the 20th century by both The Modern Library and Time Magazine.
I would never hear of Ellison or his literary works in any of the English/American literature classes I took in the predominately ‘Black’ urban high schools I attended, or in college; but would discover both almost three decades later in − of all places − a naval base library.
“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan 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, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”
Invisible indeed, I thought. For you see… I was the spook!
- ‘Invisible Man’ banned from Randolph County schools (charlotteobserver.com)
- School Board Reverses Ban on Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’ (theatlanticwire.com)
- North Carolina Students Will Get Free Copies of Banned ‘Invisible Man’ (theatlanticwire.com)