Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.
Here is my favorite poem by Mr. Dunbar: