An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet and novelist to gain national and international recognition. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872, his mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery prior to serving in both infantry and calvary divisions in the Civil War. During his life, Dunbar penned twelve volumes of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. Dunbar’s life was ultimately cut short when he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 33 in 1906. Dawn was first published in Dunbar’s Majors and Minors (1895), and beautifully depicts the moment that dawn breaks on the horizon.