August 12 - Dramatic Dunbar

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On August 12, 1891, Paul Laurence Dunbar participated in a literary recital in Dayton.  He was 19 years old and a recent high school graduate.  Paul did not recite his own works, but instead gave selections from Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Alfred Lord Tennyson and William Shakespeare.  Another reader at the recital gave humorous readings while Paul focused on dramatic pieces.

Dramatic and Humorous Recital Given By Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dramatic Reader
Diester Hall, Wednesday Evening, Aug. 12.


"Annabel Lee"
Scene from The Lady of Lyons
Lady Clara Vere de Vere
Quarrel of Brutus & Cassius

Recital program, August 12, 1891.  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 4).

There was an amateur African American dramatic club in Dayton that gave benefit performances to raise money for worthy causes.  The president of the club did not seem to want Paul to participate.

Dayton, O. -- We have in our city a victim of ignorance in the form of Paul Dunbar.  If he does not wish his beautiful face disfigured he had better stay away from No. 53 Mead street.  We are aware that he is anxious to become a member of the Idle Hour Dramatic Club, but as they do not need him these are the compliments of that Dramatic club to him. President, Miss I. B. Bryant.

"She Gives Notice."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  April 19, 1890.  Page 2.

When Paul was young, he frequently gave speeches, recited poetry and took part in debates in the Dayton area.

Dayton, O. -- The literary exercises at the A. M. E. church, Wednesday evening, were very interesting.  The debate, "Resolved, That Woman Suffrage is just," was ably discussed.  Affirmative, Misses Nancy Johnson and Maggie Holmes;  negative, G. A. Jackson and C. Hays.  Brief and enthusiastic remarks were made by the President, Paul Dunbar, and Andrew Hawkins.

"A Fine Debate."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  July 7, 1888.  Page 1.

Dayton, O. -- An entertainment was given at the City Hall last Thursday night for the benefit of the A. M. E. church. The tricycle was awarded to Minnie Jones for being the most graceful walker, and a gold headed cane to Mr. Paul Dunbar for being the best speaker; subject, "Unity Among Our Race."

"Won Two Prizes."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  May 10, 1890.  Page 2.

Dayton, O. -- Last Friday evening Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Butler celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  Mr. and Mrs. Butler received very handsome and valuable presents. Mr. Paul Dunbar made the presentation speech, to which Mr. Butler responded.

"The Gem City's Social Doings."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  November 8, 1890.  Page 1.

Dayton, O. -- The reception given by the Daughters of Jerusalem was a grand affair.  Mr. Paul Dunbar certainly did justice to the occasion in his able speech.

"Gem City News."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  December 5, 1891.  Page 1.

Dayton, O. -- An oratorical contest took place at the Eaker Street church the 22d. Messrs. Paul Dunbar, Joseph Manly, Charles Higgins and Wm. Burns were the contestants.

"Purchased a Coal Yard."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  January 30, 1892.  Page 2.

Dayton, O. -- The event of the season was the Haymaker's cantata last Thursday night at Old Guard Hall.  Over five hundred people were present and expressed themselves highly pleased.  Randolph Tams, Dayton's humorist, as a farmer, kept the attention of all.  He sang some very fine selections.  Mr. Paul Dunbar spoke Longfellow's Bridge, with piano accompaniment.

"The Cantata a Success."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  March 19, 1892.  Page 2.

The Tennessee Jubilee Singers gave a very delightful entertainment, assisted by Paul Dunbar, at the Y. M. C. A. hall Wednesday evening.

"Gem City News. Tennessee Jubilee Singers and Dunbar Concert."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  November 30, 1895.  Page 2.