Dayton, Ohio 45402
Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site
The first internationally acclaimed African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar had a profound influence on Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and many others. The title of Maya Angelou’s 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was borrowed from a line in Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy.”
Born to former slaves in 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s work reveals the daunting challenges facing African-Americans in the post-Civil-War-Era. Though he died at age 33, Dunbar published over 400 poems, six full-length novels, plays, short stories, and lyrics for musical productions.
As site manager, Dayton History was approached to help secure and expand the operations at the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial. The organization continues this in close partnership with the National Park Service and the newly rebranded Ohio History Connection.