Best known for his National Book Award winning novel, Invisible Man (1952), Ralph Ellison was also a prominent essayist and critic. Educated at what is now Tuskegee University, where he left before earning a degree, Ellison originally strived to be a musician, but eventually focused his energies on writing. “What These Children Are Like” is from a 1963 lecture given by Ellison in Dedham, Massachusetts. In this broad lecture, Ellison asks his listeners to consider problems of identity, language, discrimination, and why the education system is not reaching large groups of students. What does it mean to be “culturally deprived”? What role does language play in our identity? Where does imagination fit into the educational system?
*CCR cannot guarantee the accuracy or continued availability of this online text. Please notify us if you encounter any problems.
The text is from a lecture given by Ralph Ellison at a seminar on "Education for Culturally Different Youth" in Dedham, Massachusetts.