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Paul Laurence Dunbar
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The first African-American to achieve prominence as a poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar was born and raised in Dayton, the son of former slaves. Working as an elevator operator while he established himself as a writer, Dunbar published his first book of poems, Oak and Ivy, in 1893. His third collection, Lyrics of a Lowly Life (1896) with an introduction by another Ohio-born author William Dean Howells, gained Dunbar widespread critical acclaim and popular recognition. Widely published in contemporary journals and literary magazines, Dunbar employed both turn-of-the-century African-American dialect and standard English verse to give a voice to the themes of everyday discrimination and struggles for racial equality. Tuberculosis cut his life short at age 33. Dunbar's body of work includes twelve volumes of poetry, four books of short stories, a play, and five novels.
219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar Street
Dayton, OH 45407
Paul Laurance Dunbar House Historic Site
Latitude: 39.7577270, Longitude: -84.2188710.
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