In the ""Black Americans of Achievement"" series, a biography of the distinguished poet, dramatist, and novelist. Dunbar had a brief, prolific, triumphant, and tragic life; Gentry illuminates all these aspects of his existence and helps readers understand his limitations and achievements by setting him firmly in his own time. Born in 1872, Dunbar died in 1906 of tuberculosis. Although a high-school graduate, he labored for years as an elevator operator--even after his poetry had been published to great acclaim. Gentry makes it abundantly clear what a remarkable person Dunbar was, as well as clarifying his great influence on later writers; he sprinkles the text with examples of Dunbar's poetry--some of which may seem quaint to modern ears, though it still holds power. A very good biography of an important figure. Black-and-white photos; chronology; bibliography; index.