February 9, 1906 - Paul Laurence Dunbar died of tuberculosis

Accomplished poet, novelist and playwright, Paul Laurence Dunbar died of tuberculosis on February 9, 1906 at the young age of 33.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first Black American poets to achieve international acclaim. Born in 1872, the Dayton, Ohio native was also a prolific author of short stories, novels, librettos, essays and articles. Dunbar became a major inspiration for Harlem Renaissance authors like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. His influence continues today through the writings of famous Black American writers like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, both of whom credit Dunbar as an inspiration. He died in Dayton on February 9, 1906 at the age of 33. The film incorrectly states that he died on February 6.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio to former slaves. He became one the first African American poets to achieve national and international notoriety.

Dunbar completed four collected volumes of short stories, four novels, three published plays, lyrics for thirteen songs, fourteen books of poetry and over 400 published poems with his writings featured in many national publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly and Saturday Evening Post.

The lyrics for the first Broadway musical produced by Black Americans “In Dahomey” in 1903 were written by Dunbar. He was able to create an amazing amount of literary work during his short life.

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