Paul Laurence Dunbar is noted to be the first African American writer born after slavery to make a professional living by his literary pen alone. The poet and novelist was born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio to former slaves, and accounts say his parents’ experiences as slaves would later inspire his
Writing stories and verse when still a child, much of his verse and short stories were written in black dialect (Negro dialect) though he used conventional English in other poetry and novels
Becoming one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, Dunbar was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse in collections such as Majors and Minors (1895) and Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896).
Before his death from tuberculosis on February 9, 1906, at only 33, he published a dozen collections of verse, four books of short stories, and four novels. He also wrote the lyrics and text for several operettas and librettos
His dialectic poems have been prized as supreme achievements in African American literature.
Here are some powerful quotes from the literary giant: