On 1 March 1913, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one of the five states that became part of the United States in the twentieth century and the forty-sixth state in the union, Ralph Waldo Ellison was born to Lewis Ellison, a laborer from South Carolina, and Ida Millsap Ellison from Georgia. That Ralph Ellison was born in the former Territory, both Indian and western frontier, will become a significant part of his personality and will contribute a perspective to his writing that, along with his distinctive style, will position him among the great writers of the United States.

On both the maternal and paternal sides of his family Ralph Ellison had grandparents who were enslaved. Alfred Ellison, the writer’s paternal grandfather, was among fewer than thirty other persons held in slavery by a

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Citation: Jimoh, A Yemisi. "Ralph Ellison". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 June 2003; last revised 20 March 2012. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1420, accessed 15 July 2024.]

1420 Ralph Ellison 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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