Paul Laurence Dunbar


Paul Laurence Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Paul Laurence Dunbar by daytonhistory1


Born in Dayton, Ohio, to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar began to write stories and verse when still a child; he was president of his high school's literary society.

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States.

Dayton is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and is the county seat of Montgomery County.

The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865.


He published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper.


Much of Dunbar's more popular work in his lifetime was written in the "Negro dialect" associated with the antebellum South, though he also used the Midwestern regional dialect of James Whitcomb Riley.

Antebellum or variation, may refer to:


Dunbar's work was praised by William Dean Howells, a leading editor associated with the Harper's Weekly, and Dunbar was one of the first African-American writers to establish an international reputation.

William Dean Howells was an American realist novelist, literary critic, and playwright, nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters".

Harper's Weekly, A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City.


He wrote the lyrics for the musical comedy In Dahomey, the first all-African-American musical produced on Broadway in New York.

In Dahomey: A Negro Musical Comedy is a landmark 1903 American musical comedy described by theatre historian Gerald Bordman as "the first full-length musical written and played by blacks to be performed at a major Broadway house."


The musical later toured in the United States and the United Kingdom.


Dunbar also wrote in conventional English in other poetry and novels.


Since the late 20th century, scholars have become more interested in these other works.


Suffering from tuberculosis, which then had no cure, Dunbar died in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 33.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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