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Ralph Ellison

If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison, and destroy.

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

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The understanding of art depends finally upon one's willingness to extend one's humanity and one's knowledge of human life.

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

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Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.

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America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description.

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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.

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I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

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There must be possible a fiction which, leaving sociology and case histories to the scientists, can arrive at the truth about the human condition, here and now, with all the bright magic of the fairy tale.

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By and large, the critics and readers gave me an affirmed sense of my identity as a writer. You might know this within yourself, but to have it affirmed by others is of utmost importance. Writing is, after all, a form of communication.

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