The Life of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Portrait of a Poet by Catherine Reef

By Catherine Reef

"I comprehend why the caged poultry sings," wrote Paul Laurence Dunbar in "Sympathy," certainly one of his best-loved poems. writer Catherine Reef paints a wealthy and noteworthy portrait of the 1st African American to earn his residing as a author. Born in 1872 to former slaves, Dunbar touched the country with poetry that portrayed the sorrows and the thrill of African-American lifestyles. Dunbar's paintings spoke on to the hearts of his readers, and his legacy encouraged the new release of African-American poets who undefined. This publication is built from PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR: PORTRAIT OF A POET to permit republication of the unique textual content into booklet, paperback, and alternate variations.

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Extra info for The Life of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Portrait of a Poet

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8 Chapter 3 DREAMING ALL THE TIME The new high school graduates took their places in the adult world. Paul Dunbar was nineteen, and it was time for him to choose a career. His mother urged him to become a minister. In her mind, she could see him wearing a clergyman’s collar and preaching on Sunday mornings. As a minister, he could use his education to enlighten others. She could think of no finer profession for him to enter. Her son felt no religious calling, though. Instead, he sometimes saw himself as a journalist who was on the scene when news was happening.

As graduation neared, his friends and teachers asked him to write lyrics for their class song. On a June night in 1891, the forty-three graduating seniors of Central High School stood before their proud families in Dayton’s Grand Opera House. They sang a song that expressed their readiness to move forward in life. In his lyrics, Paul had compared the graduating students to sailors embarking on a voyage. 8 Chapter 3 DREAMING ALL THE TIME The new high school graduates took their places in the adult world.

His family had no money to pay for college. And it looked as though he would never be a reporter either. The editor of the Dayton Herald said flat out that he would not hire an African American to write the news. Still, Dunbar was optimistic. In 1891, a high school diploma and good grades were enough to get a young person hired in a bank or an office. Dunbar went all over Dayton, from one place of business to another, applying for jobs. He was willing to work hard and learn, but everywhere he was told the same thing: African Americans need not apply.

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