Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Ohio Connection

  • Dunbar was the only black student at Dayton’s Central High School. He served as editor-in-chief of the school paper, president of the literary society, and class poet.
  • Dunbar’s classmates included Orville and Wilbur Wright, with whom he remained lifelong friends. The Wright brothers’ printing company published the young writer’s short-lived newspaper, The Tattler.
  • Dunbar’s last Dayton residence is a state memorial of the Ohio Historical Society.

The Dunbar House
In 1936, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s home in Dayton became a state memorial of the Ohio Historical Society; it was the first American memorial to honor a black man.

Dunbar bought the house for his mother, Matilda, in 1904.  After her son’s death in 1906, the grieving Matilda Dunbar made his study into a virtual shrine.

Each year, thousands visit The Dunbar House to see the poet’s famous typewriter, literary treasures and other belongings on display.

The memorial sits on the 88-acre Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, established in 1992 to honor Dunbar, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.  It encompasses the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop, Dunbar’s home, Huffman Prairie flying field, and the 1905 Wright Flyer.

For more information on The Dunbar House, visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/places/dunbar/

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