Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in GREAT PLAINS QUARTERLY 26:2 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


How proud Ellison would be to see his work and that of so many other distinguished artists, writers, and musicians recognized in the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. The Great Plains roots of Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Cornel West, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, and Jay McShann make emphatic the region's importance in African American history and culture. Like their counterparts in the American South, these artists migrated to Chicago and New York where they became leaders in the nation's cultural life.