Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma City in 1913. He enrolled at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama, as a music major and later turned to writing essays and short stories. By 1945 he signed a contract to begin writing what was to become Invisible Man (1952), which won the National Book Award in 1953 but remained the only novel published during his lifetime. Ellison published two subsequent collections of essays: Shadow and Act (1964) and Going to the Territory (1986). Ellison died in 1994.