© 2024 KGOU
Photo of Lake Murray State Park showing Tucker Tower and the marina in the background
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ralph Ellison Portrait Unveiled Thursday

State Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City)

One of the state's most famous writers is the latest Oklahoman to be honored with a portrait at the state Capitol.

The author of Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison grew up in the Deep Deuce area of Oklahoma City. State Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) was among those leading the effort to pay tribute to Ellison. Holt says the new painting honors a man who was much more than a writer.

"His work was also a force for social change, so he's politically inspiring," Holt says. "It's absolutely appropriate, and probably overdue, that we have this portrait in the Capitol so Oklahomans into perpetuity will understand and appreciate his contribution to American society."

The Oklahoma City Republican said on his Facebook page the Capitol Preservation Commission chose to create a "uniquely Oklahoma" portrait of Ellison, depicting him in front of the Aldridge Theatre with playbills from Oklahoma City and national performers.

The portrait will hang in the fourth floor capitol rotunda along with images of other famous Oklahomans including Will Rogers and Sequoyah.

He won the 1953 National Book Award for the novel Invisible Man, which explored the African-American experience during the early part of the 1900s. His other works include Shadow and Act, Going to the Territory, Juneteenth and Three Days Before the Shooting.


KGOU relies on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners to further its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. To contribute to our efforts, make your donation online, or contact our Membership department.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.