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Share Your Story!

In honor of the 100th birthday of Oklahoma’s literary legend Ralph Ellison, members of the "Remembering Ralph" oral history team from Oklahoma City University are conducting interviews with people who knew Ellison personally, or who would like to share a special story about how Ellison's writing has influenced their lives.

Short, informal interviews will be conducted on a walk-in basis (or by appointment) between 12 and 4 p.m. in the Perle Mesta Suite on the 2nd floor of the Skirvin Hotel in downtown OKC on Saturday, March 8. For more information on the interviews, or to make an appointment, email Dr. Brooke Hessler atbhessler@okcu.edu.



BLAC-Ralph Ellison Understood through Charlie Christian

Ralph Ellison Portrait Unveiling


Thursday, March 6, 2014 10 a.m. 

Second Floor Rotunda 

Oklahoma State Capitol 

Artist: Tracey Harris 

Free and open to the public

Ralph Ellison Centennial Celebration

Oklahoma's Ralph Ellison Centennial Celebration will recognize one of its most famous literary figures on his 100th birthday through public events.

A native of Oklahoma City, Ellison is an internationally renowned writer, author of the 1953 National Book Award-winning novel Invisible Man; numerous short stories; essays on jazz, literature, and American culture collected in Shadow and Act (1964) and Going to the Territory (1986); and his posthumous novels Juneteenth and Three Days before the Shooting

Oklahoma City community partners are working collaboratively and individually to organize public events in a variety of venues to celebrate Ralph Ellison and his world from February 2013 through April 2014.

Humanities Scholar to Discuss Ralph Ellison at Oklahoma City University


Humanities scholar John F. Callahan, Ph.D., will discuss the life and work of Ralph Ellison during a free public lecture next month at Oklahoma City University.

“Ralph Ellison: A Meditation for His Centennial” will begin at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at OCU’s Walker Center for Arts and Sciences, located at Florida Ave. and N.W. 26th St.

Callahan, the Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis & Clark College and Ellison’s literary executor, will discuss how Ellison’s work stood at the time of his death in 1994 and where it stands now after the five posthumous volumes and “Selected Letters” to come. Callahan is a specialist in 20th century American literature who has overseen the inclusion of Ellison’s papers in the Library of Congress and has fostered much of Ellison’s unpublished work into publication.

Callahan is the author of “In the African-American Grain: the Pursuit of Voice in Twentieth-Century Black Fiction” and is the editor of most of Ellison’s posthumously published works.

The lecture is sponsored by Oklahoma City University and is supported in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council. For more information, call OCU English Professor Tracy Floreani at (405) 208-5707.


About Ralph Ellison

Novelist Ralph Waldo Ellison originally studied music and art but was drawn eventually to the world of literature. Ellison spent seven years writing Invisible Man (1952, National Book Award), and, although it was his only novel, it gained him a place as a respected American writer and remains one of the central texts of the twentieth-century canon.  More>

"Remembering Ralph": an oral history project

Do you remember Ralph? 

Scholars from Oklahoma City University, in cooperation with the Oklahoma History Center, are conducting oral history interviews with those who knew or had significant contact with Ellison in Oklahoma City or elsewhere. These recorded interviews will help establish long-term, visible resources beyond the Ellison Centennial events and will be archived at OCU's Dulaney-Browne Library and the Oklahoma History Center to support researchers and teachers; to develop multimedia projects related to Ellison and Oklahoma City's history; to preserve the legacy of Oklahoma’s literary legend, African American author Ralph Ellison; and to continue his dialogues regarding American cultural identities and the arts.

If you or someone you knew remembers Ralph, please call (405) 208-5707.

Poet Terrance Hayes visited Oklahoma City University this spring and kindly shared his poem-in-progress, a tribute to Ralph Ellison on the occasion of the Centennial.

Copyright © 2014 Ralph Ellison Centennial 2013-2014. All rights reserved.