African American Project


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  • On June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio. His parents were Matilda and Joshua Dunbar. His parents gave birth to a daughter, but died when she was two years old.
  • When Paul was a little boy, his parents divorced and his mother remarried. At the age of thirteen years old, his father died. Paul's two older step brothers dropped out of school to help support their family.
  • Paul went to Tenth Street Elementary school and then he went to Central High School in Dayton Ohio. In high school, Paul was one of two African American students. Paul published poems for the local news paper. Once Paul graduated, he was hoping to attend college. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to attend due to financial reasons so he took a job as an elevator operator.
  • When Paul was 20 years old, he was invited to speak at the convention of the Western Association of Writers. His audience that he was amazing. He then decided to write and self publish his first book of poetry called " Oak and Ivy" in 1893. His second book was published in 1896 called, "Majors and Minors"In 1897, Paul traveled to London to read his third book, "Lyrics of Lowly Life".
  • In March of 1898, he met his wife Alice Ruth Moore. They were married for four years but Alice left him in 1902. Paul was diagnosed with tuberculosis. By the time he found out it was too advanced for the doctors to do anything.
  • At the age of thirty three, Paul died. His writing influenced many writers of the Harlem Renaissance. He was known as one of the leading African American writers of the 20th centurary.
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