Wright Dunbar, Inc. and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park will host a celebration in honor of the birth date of renowned poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. This free, family-friendly event will take place Saturday, June 27, 2015, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Dayton’s historic Wright Dunbar neighborhood.
From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. watch the Dayton region’s Walk of Fame come alive with Walk the Walk, a showcase featuring Walk of Fame inductees and historians hosting the memorial stones on West Third Street in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District. This opportunity will allow visitors to interact with and learn from some of the outstanding individuals and groups who have contributed to the greatness of our region. In the event of inclement weather, Walk the Walk will be moved inside to the Wright-Dunbar Conference Center, 1100 W. Third St.
Poetry readings will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the first-floor theater of the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, 16 S. Williams St. Speakers will include Dr. Herbart Martin, Professor Emeritus, University of Dayton; James Ditto, President of the Dunbar Alumni Association; and Dr. Joy Kinard, Superintendent of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument.
In the Interpretive Center, the National Park Service will also be showing short videos of Walk of Fame inductees from Wright Dunbar, Inc.’s library.
An attempt will be made to enter the Guinness Book of World Records with the largest group reading of a poem, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Compensation.” The reading will take place at 3 p.m. in the plaza outside of the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. All are encouraged to participate. Birthday cake will be shared immediately following for as long as supplies last.
Paul Laurence Dunbar House, located at 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St., will be free and open to the public for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ice cream will be shared for as long as supplies last. RTA will provide free round-trip shuttle service from the activities at the Walk of Fame to the Paul Laurence Dunbar House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
As part of the celebration, West Third Street will be closed between Broadway and Shannon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available in the lot behind the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, in the lots between Edison and Second Street just east of the Paul Laurence Dunbar House, and on the street in the neighborhood surrounding the Wright-Dunbar Business District.
Born in Dayton on June 27, 1872, Dunbar became one of the first nationally recognized African American poets and authors before dying at age 33 of tuberculosis on Feb. 9, 1906. He is buried in historic Woodland Cemetery, and his house is preserved as a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and an Ohio state memorial, managed by Dayton History.
16 S. Williams St. Dayton OH 45402