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Paul Laurence Dunbar
30                Paul Laurence Dunbar


                    Reverdy C. Ransom
     Paul Laurence Dunbar was a product of the first genera-
tion of freedom. Whatever of talent, endowment or genius
he possessed belonged to the rich, warm blood of his African
inheritance. We know that capacity, genius, ability, are not
limited by race or blood; but so universal is the imputation
of racial inferiority to the African and his descendants that
the achievements of each gifted son or daughter reflect
glory upon the entire race. The Negro has contributed very
little to what we know as human progress in the terms of
modern civilization.  This fact is used against him and is
made to justify his unequal and degrading treatment. It is
only by multiplying examples of the highest achievement
that the universal judgment may be reversed. In the United
States, Dunbar and Henry O. Tanner are "the sea mark of
our farthest sail" in letters and in art. These are not freaks
or prodigies, but prophecies of the latent powers of the race,
the first unfoldings of which have not yet but fairly begun.
Like the midnight sun of the North Polar regions, the dark-
ness that has enveloped the African and his descendants
has been briefly illuminated here and there through the
centuries by some bright Negro intellect in almost every
quarter of the earth. However widely the many varieties
of the human race may differ in certain physical character-
istics, they have a common origin and are of one and the
same family. The Creator has not made one branch of the
human family inferior to another. History does, however,
abundantly prove that the groups into which the human
family is divided differ in race traits, characteristics and in
wealth of endowment in certain specific directions. The
world is indebted to the Jews for keeping alive and trans-
mitting across the centuries a pure monotheism. The Greeks
realized the highest ideal of beauty to which mankind has
yet attained; while the white races of Europe and America


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Reverdy C. Ransom Collection

Paul Laurence Dunbar


Page Number:  30


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