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Ellison came to New York City with a musical education from Tuskegee and an interest in pursuing sculpture. But owing to his new friendships with young writers, including Richard Wright, and his job working for the Federal Writer’s Project collecting “Negro Lore,” his focus soon shifted to writing. This chapter explores the influence that Ellison’s early New York encounters had on inspiring his first attempts at writing fiction and in shaping the thematic and aesthetic concerns that would endure throughout his life’s work.
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