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Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Paul Laurence Dunbar

1872 - 1906

 
 
Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
1. Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker
Inscription. Paul Laurence Dunbar, born on Howard Street in Dayton, was the first African American to be accepted into the discipline of American literature. The son of a fugitive slave, Paul was an eloquent poet, short story writer, and novelist, as well as speaker on issues of racial equality and the human condition.

At 17 Dunbar published "The Dayton Tattler," the first newspaper for Dayton's black community, with the help of his friends Orville and Wilbur Wright. He graduated from Central High School in 1891 as the only black in his class. Despite his talent and education, Dunbar found domestic service and physical labor the only types of employment available to him. He worked as an elevator operator downtown, always with pen and notebook at hand, and published poems in the Dayton Herald. In 1892, he addressed the Western Association of Writers in Dayton. The resulting standing ovation and critical praise encouraged him to self-publish Oak and Ivy, his first collection of poems.

Dunbar spent the following summer at the World's Exposition in Chicago working for Frederick Douglass, where his eyes were opened to broader issues of the human condition. His second collection of poems, Majors and Minors, was hailed by literary critic William Dean Howells in Harper's Weekly and Dunbar rose to international literary
Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker (middle) Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
2. Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker (middle)
prominence. Dunbar traveled in America and Europe where he developed friendships with other noted authors, including James Whitcomb Riley, W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Dunbar was a staunch supporter of equality and higher education for African Americans and a rare individual who moved successfully in all social, ehtnic and economic circles.

Dunbar's life ended at 33 after a long bout with tuberculosis. He was remarkably prolific during his short career, publishing 12 books of poetry, 4 novels, 4 plays, 4 short story collections, and dozens of essays. His final years were spent on North Summit Street (now Paul Laurence Dunbar Street) in Dayton. His works are recognized today as revolutionary for the humanization of African Americans in the American culture.


 
Erected by City of Dayton and the Dayton Daily News.
 
Location. 39° 45.849′ N, 84° 11.474′ W. Marker is in Dayton, Ohio, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Monument Avenue and Jefferson Street. Click for map. Marker is at start of the Dunbar Walk, part of Riverscape at Van Cleve Park along the Great Miami River. Marker is in this post office area: Dayton OH 45402, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking
Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker (bottom) Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
3. Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker (bottom)
distance of this marker. "The History of the World is the Biography of Great Men" (a few steps from this marker); Charles F. Kettering (within shouting distance of this marker); The Birth of Aviation (within shouting distance of this marker); John Van Cleve (within shouting distance of this marker); The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 / And The Rivers Flowed Through The City (within shouting distance of this marker); Newcom Tavern (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Van Cleve Park (about 300 feet away); Benjamin Van Cleve (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Dayton.
 
More about this marker. The Dunbar Walk includes engravings of his works, including Welcome Address To the Western Association of Writers, Sympathy, The Seedling, Ode to Ethiopia, A Toast to Dayton, Life, Dreams, and We Wear the Mask.
 
Also see . . .  Biography of Dunbar from Ohio History Central. (Submitted on April 3, 2009, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.)
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansArts, Letters, MusicNotable Persons
 
Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker at Start of the Dunbar Walk Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
4. Paul Laurence Dunbar Marker at Start of the Dunbar Walk
Great Miami River in background.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Photo, Click for full size
By Allen C. Browne, November 29, 2015
5. Paul Laurence Dunbar
This 1934 portrait of Paul Laurence Dunbar by William McKnight Farrow hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Sample of Dunbar's Published Works Included on the Dunbar Walk Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
6. Sample of Dunbar's Published Works Included on the Dunbar Walk
Dunbar Walk Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 14, 2009
7. Dunbar Walk Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 1,098 times since then and 93 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.   5. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   6, 7. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on July 31, 2016.
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