Ralph Ellison: An American Journey

The life and legacy of the man whose writings continue to send reverberations through America's cultural life.

Film Signature Image
American Masters
Premiere Date
February 19, 2002
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles-Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Feature Film Literacy in Media Award
  • Producer

    Avon Kirkland

    Avon Kirkland wrote, directed and produced Ralph Ellison: An American Journey which was shown at Sundance Film Festival and broadcast on American Masters in 2002. He also produced and directed Street Soldiers, a profile of MacArthur Award-winner Joe Marshall, which aired on PBS with funding from ITVS. His acclaimed film Booker on the life of Booker T. Show more Washington was selected as one of the 10 best programs of the year by the Los Angeles Times. Simple Justice, his film for The American Experience series was a finalist for a Humanitas Award and won a CINE Golden Eagle. Show less

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    The Film

    In 1952, Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man was published to enormous acclaim, and his essays widely lauded as incisive commentaries on African American life and culture. Though he never completed another novel before his death, Ellison's legacy continues to influence accomplished writers and intellectuals. Who was this man who sent penetrating reverberations through America's cultural life for nearly 50 years? Ralph Ellison presents a vivid portrait of one of the seminal — and too often overlooked — intellectual figures of our time.