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Ralph Ellison Quotes (41 Quotes)


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  • Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implies the danger of losing a sense of who you are.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • The clock ticked with empty urgency, as though trying to catch up with the time. In the street a siren howled.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • The truth is the light and the light is the truth.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.
    (Ralph Ellison)


  • The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstances, whether created by others or by one's own human failing.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • 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)

  • Commercial rock 'n' roll music is a brutalization of the stream of contemporary Negro church music an obscene looting of a cultural expression.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • The end is in the beginning and lies far ahead.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • When I discover who I am, I'll be free.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • Eclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • I'm not a separatist. The imagination is integrative. That's how you make the new -- by putting something else with what you've got. And I'm unashamedly an American integrationist.
    (Ralph Ellison)

  • If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison, and destroy.
    (Ralph Ellison)


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