'I know why the caged bird sings,'wrote Paul Laurence Dunbar in'Sympathy,'one of his best-loved poems. Author Catherine Reef paints a rich and memorable portrait of the first African American to earn his living as a writer. Born in 1872 to former slaves, Dunbar touched the nation with poetry that portrayed the sorrows and the joys of African-American life. Dunbar's work spoke directly to the hearts of his readers, and his legacy inspired the generation of African-American poets who followed. This book is developed from PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR: PORTRAIT OF A POET to allow republication of the original text into ebook, paperback, and trade editions.