Dialect poems by one of the nineteenth century's most talented African American lyricists
Paul Laurence Dunbar was "the most promising young colored man" in nineteenth-century America, according to Frederick Douglass, and subsequently one of the most controversial. His plantation lyrics, written while he was an elevator boy in Ohio, established Dunbar as the premier writer of dialect poetry and garnered him international recognition. More than a vernacular lyricist, Dunbar was also a master of classical poetic forms, who helped demonstrate to postCivil War America that literary genius did not reside solely in artists of European descent. William Dean Howells called Dunbars dialect poems "evidence of the essential unity of the human race, which does not think or feel black in one and white in another, but humanly in all."
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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. The son of freed slaves from Kentucky, he was uanble to afford college and became an elevator operator. He later moved to Chicago, where he befriended Frederick Douglass and published poetry in prominent national publications and writing lyrics for a number of musical reviews.