1966 Interview of Ralph Ellison on Invisible Man

by The Oklahoma Historical Society –


Black and white film footage (commercially produced) provides a rare interview with award-winning novelist Ralph Ellison. In the interview, Ellison addresses a variety of topics and offers a few opinions. For instance, in discussing diversity he says "there is no United States". There is so much happening in America that it is difficult to have consensus. Furthermore, a Black novelist attempting to be a political spokesperson is speaking out of context because he is interpreted by racial identity. He discusses the origins of his novel The Invisible Man, the work that first gave him notoriety. Ellison also speaks about teaching, continuity of his work, the practice of writing, and the elements that contribute to "eloquence" in writing. Ellison concludes with a reading from a work in progress and his aspirations for its publication.

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