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Ralph Ellison was an African American author. He is well know for his novel, Invisible Man. In one of his essays Ralph Ellison refers to several famous people who are known for many great accomplishments. These people are Frederick Douglass, Charles Young, Booker T. Washington, Jack Johnson, George Dewey, and Theodore Roosevelt. If Ellison was able to meet these men as a boy he would be influenced by their good characters and look up to them for the vast achievements they are well known for.
Frederick Douglass was an enslaved individual who escaped the physical bonds of slavery. His life tells a story which should never be forgotten. It is a story of slavery and discrimination, and a constant struggle for freedom and equality. Douglass dedicated his life searching for freedom, justice and equality. He was devoted by his work as an abolitionist, lecturer, writer, reformer, diplomat and statesman. As an abolitionist, he fought successfully to end the society of slavery. As a reformer, he was for a non-violent struggle for completion of schools, housing, employment and the right to vote. He brought hope and pride to African Americans. As a boy, Ellison would be inspired by Douglass for he was a great man who was dedicated in his work.
One other man that would hold and importance to Ellison as a boy would be Charles Young. In the late 1880’s he was one of the three African Americans who graduated from the U.S Military Academy. Colonel Charles Young is remembered and honored as a man of courage and motivation. He stands in the history of African-Americans in the U. S. military. He served in an all-black Tenth cavalry and also fought in the Spanish American War. He was also involved in the Mexican military campaign. As an excuse to keep him from serving in World War I, the War Department declared him medically unfit. To prove his fitness, he protested by riding his horse from Ohio to Washington D.C., but he was still not reinstated. Young was the highest-ranking African-American officer in the army when WW1 started. He was also the first African-American to reach that rank in the army. Meeting this military figure would have encouraged Ralph Ellison as a boy to become an educated individual and to overcome any obstacles.
Another great figure was Booker T. Washington. He was an African American educator and a racial leader. Booker T. Washington is well known for him “Atlanta Compromise” speech, which made him America’s major black leader for 0 years. Born a slave, his eagerness for education made him well respectable and a powerful leader. Washington would be some who Ellison could look up to, for he was well educated and appreciated.
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Jack Johnson was an African American boxer. He was born in Galveston, Texas. Rising from the battle royals (fights between blacks for the amusement of white customers) of his youth, he defeated Tommy Burns in 108 becoming the world’s first African-American heavyweight champion. After an interracial marriage and his defeat of several white men, Jack Johnson was convicted in 11 under false conditions for violation of a federal law. He fled to Europe and remained a champion in exile until he lost in 115 to Jess Willard in Cuba. When he came back to the United States he had to serve a year in prison.
Several Americans around the year 100 called George Dewey, the naval commander of the Spanish-American War, a hero. The brave sea captain inspired great admiration when he went to battle with the Spanish fleet in the Pacific. He was well prepared for the fight when the U.S. declared war on Spain. On the morning of May 1, 188, George Dewey commenced the Battle of Manila Bay, saying the famous command You may fire when ready, Gridley. Dewey would persuade Ellison to be bold and to be ready for any hindrance that comes his way.
Theodore Roosevelt was the 6th President of the United States. He was a Harvard graduate. His early interest was in ranching, in politics, and in writing pleasing historical narratives. The life of Theodore Roosevelt was one of constant activity, massive energy, and continuing accomplishments. He was elected governor of New York in 188 and vice president in 100, in spite of lack of enthusiasm on the part of the bosses. Ellison would be motivated by Roosevelt for he was someone of great accomplishments.
These are all famous people who have done many great things. Meeting these people, Ellison would be able to see how these individuals have come a long way and have done so much throughout their lifetime. As a boy he would be able to look up to them for their great accomplishments.
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