Since there are so many facets of the history that people of African descent have made in this country, I’ve decided to continue my “Black History 365″ series from my poetry blog here on my AfrocentriqueAZ blog. In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a new Black poet every day this month. Every Wednesday for the months after that I will post other Black history figures (I’ll go back to my “first Black” series).
Today’s poet is Paul Laurence Dunbar
From Famous Poets and Poems and Wikipedia:
Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906, Dayton, Ohio) was an African-American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar started to write as a child and was president of his high school’s literary society. He published his first poems at the age of 16 in a Dayton newspaper.
Much of his more popular work in his lifetime was written in the Negro dialect associated with the antebellum South. His work was praised by William Dean Howells, a leading critic associated with the Harper’s Weekly, and Dunbar was one of the first African American writers to establish a national reputation. He wrote the lyrics for the musical comedy, In Dahomey (1903), the first all African-American musical produced on Broadway; the musical also toured in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Dunbar also wrote in conventional English in other poetry and novels; since the late 20th century, scholars have become more interested in these other works. Suffering from tuberculosis, Dunbar died at age 33.