Biography on paul laurence dunbar

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biography on paul laurence dunbar

Oak And Ivy: A Biography Of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Addison Gayle Jr.

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Published 29.12.2018

An Invisible Legacy: The Life and Work of Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Biography & African American Poet

Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. Despite being a fine student, Dunbar was financially unable to attend college and took a job as an elevator operator. In , a former teacher invited him to read his poems at a meeting of the Western Association of Writers; his work impressed his audience to such a degree that the popular poet James Whitcomb Riley wrote him a letter of encouragement. To help pay the publishing costs, he sold the book for a dollar to people riding in his elevator.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, a poet and novelist, was the first African American author to gain national recognition and a wide popular audience. His writings portray the African American life of his era. He especially focused on African American accomplishments and pride. Both of his parents enjoyed reading. His mother taught Dunbar to read when he was four years old. He received a formal education in high school, graduating in

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He was the eldest of two children born to Joshua and Matilda, who were former slaves, and had two half-brothers through his mother. He was the only African American in the Central High School class of ; so few African Americans attended high school at the time that segregated public secondary schools were financially unfeasible in Dayton. At Central High, Paul edited the school newspaper and was a member of the literary and debate societies.

In , Dunbar graduated from Central High School and was unable to find a decent job. Desperate for employment, he settled for a job as an elevator operator in the Callahan Building in Dayton. Dunbar had two poetic identities. He was first a Victorian poet writing in a comparatively formal style of literary English. The basic charge of this criticism can be stated in the words of a recent critic, Jean Wagner.


  1. Louis D. says:

    Matilda had been married previously and had two sons from that relationship.

  2. Belda L. says:

    Paul Laurence Dunbar Facts

  3. Didio M. says:

    Born on June 27, , Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition. His parents Joshua and Matilda Murphy.

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