Paul Laurence Dunbar

1872–1906
Paul Laurence Dunbar

The son of former slaves, Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to reach a wide audience, publishing prolifically before his early death. His use of both dialect and standard English to portray his culture’s folkways, joys, and travails distinguishes him from other writers of the time. He also spoke out against racism and injustice in essays that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Saturday Evening Post, and other mainstream publications.

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion