Born to former slaves in Dayton, Ohio, where he was boyhood friends with the Wright Brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar is best remembered for his poem We Wear the Mask and for lines from Sympathy that became the title of Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A clip of Angelou reciting Dunbar’s poem is featured in the film.

Dunbar’s story is also the story of the African American experience at the start of the 20th century. The man admired by Frederick Douglass wrote widely published essays critical of Jim Crow laws and lynching.

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


601 Turner Blvd.
Savannah, Georgia

This screening is free and open to the public.


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