Paul Laurence Dunbar
(1872 - 1906)
PLACES OF INTEREST
Paul Laurence Dunbar House
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House and the surrounding Dunbar Historic District reflects Dayton's pride in the achievements of Dunbar's short life. Following his death in 1906, his mother, Matilda, remained in the house and preserved his possessions until her death in 1934. By 1936, the Dunbar House was recognized by the state of Ohio and became the first state memorial to honor an African-American. As part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and Dayton Aviation Trail, the Dunbar House helps commemorate the important and vibrant history of Dayton at the turn of the 20th century.
Paul Laurence Dunbar and Matilda Dunbar Gravesites, Woodland Cemetery
Paul Laurence Dunbar is buried in historic Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. Dunbar's grave is marked by a willow tree and a large stone marker, which contains the first verse of his poem "A Death Song." The Dunbar room of the Woodland Mausoleum contains a stained glass window highlighting the view he depicted in the poem. His mother, Matilda Dunbar, was buried next to him following her death in 1934.
Founded in 1841, Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation's five oldest rural/garden cemeteries. Visitors are encouraged to visit the gateway, chapel and office, which were completed in 1889 and are on the National Register of Historic Places. The chapel features an exquisite original Tiffany stained-glass window. Other notable gravesites include the Wright Brothers, Ohio Governor James Cox, writer Erma Bombeck, and inventor Charles F. Kettering.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, Wright State University
Wright State's University Library was renamed in 1992 in honor of Dayton-born Paul Laurence Dunbar, recognizing not only his significant literary contributions but his importance to Dayton and his friendship with the Wright Brothers, for whom the university is named. People entering and leaving the building are greeted with some of Dunbar's most famous lines painted on the walls behind the Circulation Desk.
Located on the fourth floor of the Dunbar Library, Special Collections and Archives is home to Dunbar research materials, including a complete set of first editions of Dunbar's works. The Archives also holds copies of several of his songs, research collections of Dunbar scholar Herbert Woodward Martin and of Charles Austin, and an original handwritten and unpublished poem, "To Anna."
Joshua Dunbar Gravesite, Dayton National Cemetery
Paul Laurence Dunbar's father, Joshua Dunbar, served as a soldier in the Civil War, and is buried in the Dayton National Cemetery.