Author: Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar, c. 1890, Library of Congress

The son of two escaped slaves from Kentucky, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906) was a prolific poet, novelist, and playwright, authoring a dozen books of poetry, five novels, four books of stories, and a play that successfully toured on Broadway and in England for four years. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, he was the only African-American at his high school (at which he served as class president), and he showed an early interest in literature and poetry, publishing two poems in the local Herald newspaper while still in high school. His father fought in the Civil War, serving in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the Fifth Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. 

Lincoln

Paul Laurence Dunbar
One of the first African American writers to come to prominence, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906) was the son of two escaped slaves from Kentucky. In 1913, Dunbar first published this tribute to Abraham Lincoln.

The Veteran (1905)

Paul Laurence Dunbar

The son of two escaped slaves from Kentucky, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906) was a prolific poet, novelist, and playwright, authoring a dozen books of poetry, five novels, four books of stories, and a play that successfully toured on Broadway and in England for four years. His father fought in the Civil War, serving in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the Fifth Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. Though Dunbar wrote many of his poems in African-American dialect, this poem, first published in Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow (1905), is written in a more traditional style.