This month is Black History Month and I wanted to learn more about my heritage so I decided to not only educate myself but to give others information on the African-American History that can be very intriguing. I am interested in all American History and I hope you enjoy the material that I write about. My first look at African-American History deals in the field I love which is writing….
The First African-American Poet
Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872-February 6, 1906)
Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio. He wanted to pursue law but with his mother in financial hardship, he decided to take on a job as an elevator operator with a salary of $4.00 a week. He was able to work on his passion which was writing and he is known as the poet who gained National attention and popularity for his works. During his writing years between 1898-1905, he married Alice Ruth Moore, a teacher and poet who was instrumental in helping him with his writing and reading along with his mother. Some of his poems include:
along with first works were… Lyrics of Lowly Life, Oak and Ivy Majors and Minors, Lyrics of the Hearthside and The Strength of Gideon.
Pictured above: The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site located in Dayton, Ohio(DAHNHP)
Pictured above: Paul Dunbar was honored proudly by the community with a monument of his likeness, a middle and high school named after him and a postage stamp of 1975.
Pictured Above: These are collections where you can find his poems and novels he wrote during his active years.
Pictured above: (Woodland Cemetery in Dayton Ohio)-Paul passed away in 1906 from Tuberculosis and his younger sister Elizabeth lay next to him after dying of malnutrition in 1876.
Pictured above : One of Paul Dunbar’s poems and a The Diary of the late Alice Dunbar-Nelson.
Pictured above: Paul Dunbar, Alice Dunbar-Nelson(widow) and Paul’s mom Matilda Dunbar
An example of different dialect from one of Paul’s greatest works-
“A Warm Day In Winter”
“Sunshine on de medders,
Greenness on de way;
Dat’s de blessed reason
I sing all de day.”
Look hyeah! What you axing?
What meks me so merry
‘Spect to see me sighin’
W’en hit’s wa’m in Febawary?
Thank you for reading about Paul Laurence Dunbar and don’t forget to subscribe and follow for more great reads this month.