Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paul Laurence Dunbar: American Dreamer!

Legendary Black playwright and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote some of the world's most famous poems and sonnets.

June 27, 1872 was the birth of American poet and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar.

My community celebrates the life of a great poet. His legacy is a part of Dayton, Ohio. His home is on Summit Street (now named Paul Laurence Dunbar St.) a national monument.

Dayton, Ohio is where he grew up writing his best poems, plays and sonnets.

He grew up around the time Orville and Wilbur Wright wanted to patent inventions.

He traveled overseas. He found love with  Alice Ruth Moore a fellow poet. He became one of the world's greatest poets of the late 19th and early 20th century. He found personal demons as well.

He would become involved in alcohol and depression. He would end up losing his life to TB (tuberculosis). He buried at the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

His home is part of the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park and is an Ohio designated state monument.

Born to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar started to write as a child and was president of his high school's literary society. He published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper.

Much of his more popular work in his lifetime was written in the Negro dialect associated with the antebellum South. His work was praised by William Dean Howells, a leading critic associated with the Harper's Weekly, and Dunbar was one of the first African-American writers to establish a national reputation. He wrote the lyrics for the musical comedy, In Dahomey (1903), the first all-African-American musical produced on Broadway; the musical also 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.

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