Paul Laurence Dunbar was born June 27, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio to recently parents who had escaped slavery. Dunbar started school at Central High School, the only African-American student in his class, serving as editor of the school newspaper, and furthering his poetry. Dunbar published his first book of poetry, “Oak and Ivy,” in 1893, using his own money. By the time he published “Lyrics of Lowly Life,” in 1896, he was able to earn a living from his writings. He began writing humorous short stories humorously skewering Southern life in popular magazines once his fame was established. Distinguished literary critic of the era, William Dean Howells, praised Dunbar’s work and encouraged his representation of black perspectives. Dunbar died on February 9, 1906 in Dayton. Paul Laurence Dunbar was made a Great Ohioan in 2009.