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Paul Laurence Dunbar

1872 - 1906

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an American poet, novelist and playwright whose reputation was based on his verses and short stories written in black dialect. He is known as the first African American writer who tried to live off of his writings. Dunbar was also one of the first black authors to gain national fame and international reputation in the United States.

Classics

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.... [+]


Classics

Sympathy

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When... [+]


Classics

The Haunted Oak

Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;
And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
Runs a shudder over me?
My leaves were green as the best, I trow,... [+]