Ralph Ellison On The Invisible Man

E1E839C9-465B-4573-9A51-7CAA2E86C1E0Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1913 – April 16, 1994)

It goes a long way back, some twenty years. All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.

But first I had to discover that 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.

Ralph Ellison on Shame

In recognition of Black History Month, Transformation Publications will present poems, essays, and other artistic creations by Black artists, musicians, and writers.

   Ralph Ellison   (March 1, 1913– April 16, 1994)
Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1913– April 16, 1994)

I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.


Photo Credit: The first and most identifiable image of the 18th century abolitionist movement was a kneeling African man. Source Credit here.


Listen to Tyrese sing Shame here



On This Day, February 13, 1960, Black college students begin a series of lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ralph Ellison On Writing

   Ralph Ellison   (March 1, 1913 – April 16, 1994)
Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1913 – April 16, 1994)

So why do I write, torturing myself to put it down? Because in spite of myself I’ve learned some things. Without the possibility of action, all knowledge comes to one labeled “file and forget,” and I can neither file nor forget. Nor will certain ideas forget me; they keep filing away at my lethargy, my complacency. Why should I be the one to dream this nightmare?