The following is an excerpt of and link to Ralph Ellison’s comments on Black culture in his Paris Review interview. I also posted this on the (in progress) essential reads section of the site. Enjoy!
Interviewed by Alfred Chester & Vilma Howard
The history of the American Negro is a most intimate part of American history. Through the very process of slavery came the building of the United States. Negro folklore, evolving within a larger culture which regarded it as inferior, was an especially courageous expression. It announced the Negro’s willingness to trust his own experience, his own sensibilities as to the definition of reality, rather than allow his masters to define these crucial matters for him.