Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Paul Laurence Dunbar
1872 - 1906
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
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. Touch 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 "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). Touch for a list and map 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 RR • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 2, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,210 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 2, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 5. submitted on July 31, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 6, 7. submitted on April 2, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.