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Taken from the Introduction to "Shadow and Act":
Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma and trained as a musician at Tuskegee Institute from 1933 to 1936, at which time a visit to New York and a meeting with Richard Wright led to his first attempts at fiction. His reviews, short stories, articles, and criticism appeared in many national magazines and anthologies. His novel "Invisible Man" won the National Book Award and the Russwurm Award. From 1955 to 1957 Ellison was a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He subsequently taught at Bard College and in 1961 served as an Alexander White Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. From 1962 to 1964 he was Visiting Professor of Writing at Rutgers University. During 1964 he delivered the Gertrude Clark Whittall Lecture at the Library of Congress and the Ewing Lectures at the University of California. He was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1964. From 1970 to 1980 he was Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at the New York University. He was a charter member of the National Council on the Arts and Humanities, a member of the Carnegie Commission on public television, a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a trustee of the Colonial Williamsburfg Foundation. Other works by Ralph Ellison include "Juneteenth", "Shadow and Act", "Going to the Territory", "The collected essays of Ralph Ellison" and "Flying home and other stories".
Ralph Ellison died in 1994.