Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison narrates in first person the life story of an African American man in the United States and his experiences with racism during the pre-civil rights era as he moved from the segregated south to New York. It was first published in 1952 propelling Ellison to the best-sellers list and winning him the National Book Award.
Ellison’s writings were influenced by T.S. Elliot, James Joyce, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. They challenged the prevailing assumptions of the time, presenting his unnamed protagonist as an articulate college-educated, and self-aware human being. Invisible Man was and is considered a transformative piece of American literature that questions notions of race, identity and nationality.
A year after Ellison’s death, in June 1995, at WBAI's sister station in Los Angeles, KPFK producer Roy Hurst launched a star-studded on-air reading of Invisible Man. It featured actors Lawrence Fishburne, Levar Burton, Alfre Woodard, and Robert Guillaume. The reading of the entire book, complemented by the music of Duke Ellington, from the Pacifica Radio Archives is our thank you gift to you today by calling 212 209 2950 or going online to give2wbai.org and searching Invisible Man.