Exploring the Life and Legacy of Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Dunbar Project aims to enable s
cholars, critics, teachers, students and
other readers to experience Paul Laurence Dunbar, the nation's first
professional African-American writer.
As the centennial of Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) approaches, a coalition of scholars aims to reevaluate his literary, social, and political messages as national legacies. The Dunbar Project seeks to inaugurate a reappraisal of Dunbar by considering new ques
tions about his early life, the appropriation of his writing by composers and performers, the specific, local and regional environment that nurtured and limited him, and his significance for African-American literary culture.
Dunbar's influence on twentieth-century writers from Langston Hughes to Michael S. Harper and Nikki Giovanni is obvious. To cite only one example, the last line of Dunbar's poem "Sympathy" inspired the t
itle for Maya Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) and R&B Alicia Key's song "Caged Bird" (2001). Dunbar should emerge from renewed investigation as the preeminent representative of African-American social and literary aspiration at the turn of the last century. His life and career compel reexamination of the regional and national African-American experience during his period.
For more information about the
Dunbar Project, please call 740-593-4602 or e-mail Project Manager Jennifer Scott at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dunbar Project is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ohio Humanities Council.