Born on June 27, 1872 in Dayton to former slaves Joshua and Matilda Dunbar, Paul Laurence Dunbar developed a love of stories during his early years. He wrote his first poem at age six and recited his original Easter Ode at age nine to the congregation of the Baker Street A.M.E. Church. At age 17 Dunbar developed and edited the first Dayton African American newspaper, The Dayton Tattler, printed by Orville and Wilbur Wright. With such notable titles as Majors and Minors and Lyrics of Lowly Life in 1896, Dunbar finished four collected volumes of short stories, four novels, three published plays, lyrics for 13 songs, fourteen books of poetry, 400 published poems, and uncounted essays on social and racial topics over a thirteen year period. These works helped him achieve national recognition and international acclaim as America's first professional writer of African American heritage. He died in Dayton on February 9, 1906.