From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Ellison, Fanny McConnell

(born: 1911  -  died: 2005) 

Fanny M. Ellison was born in Louisville, KY to Ulysses and Willie Mae Brock McConnell; her parents divorced before Fanny was a year old, and she and her mother moved to Colorado, then to Chicago.

Fanny Ellison was the wife of Ralph Ellison (1913-1994), author of the 1953 National Book Award work, Invisible Man. Both were divorced when they met in 1944; they married in 1946.

Fanny Ellison had attended Fisk University and graduated from the University of Iowa; she was involved in theater, politics, and civil rights. In 1938, she founded the Negro People's Theater in Chicago, and in 1943 she moved to New York, where she was an assistant to George Granger, Director of the National Urban League.

Fanny supported her husband Ralph while he was writing what would become his only published novel. She edited and typed the manuscript that her husband had written in longhand, and she did the same for the second manuscript that he was unable to finish before his death. The second novel, Juneteenth, was published in 1999 with the permission of Fanny Ellison.

For more see "Fanny McConnell Ellison dies at 93," an MSNBC website; D. Martin, "Fanny Ellison, 93; helped husband edit 'Invisible Man'," The New York Times, 12/01/2005, Metropolitan Desk section, p.  9; and A Thank You to Ralph Ellison & the Butterfly Effect of Black Existentialism at Includes photographs of Ralph and Fanny Ellison.

Kentucky County & Region

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Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Invisible Man
NKAA Source: Juneteenth: a novel
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

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“Ellison, Fanny McConnell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-04-09 17:42:58