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Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson Walking Tour of LeDroit Park

  • 06/04/2017
  • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Shaw Metro Station (Northbound exit at 7th and S Streets.)
  • 7


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Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Dunbar-Nelson Walking Tour of LeDroit Park

Date: THIS Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Capacity: Limited to 25 people

Price: $16 members; $20 non-members

Length: 2 hours

Starts and ends: Shaw Metro Station (Northbound exit at 7th and S Streets.  Do not exit Southbound or you will miss the group!)

This tour focuses on two remarkable writers who lived in Washington, DC in late 1890s to the early 1900s.  Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African American poet to become nationally known.  His wife, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, is less well known, but she was also an accomplished writer of poetry, fiction, and journalism.  In addition, she taught high school, and was an activist for civil rights and women’s rights.  Both writers were in the first generation removed from slavery.  This tour tells the story of their accomplishments, their unhappy marriage, and his early death.  It also provides context for their lives in DC, discussing the African American intelligentsia who were drawn to LeDroit Park and the surrounding Shaw neighborhood in the years between the end of the Civil War and World War I.

Stops on the tour include the site of the Dunbars’ two homes, as well as homes of eminent neighbors: Robert and Mary Church Terrell, Christian and Sara Fleetwood, James E. Walker, and Anna Julia Cooper.  Other sites include the Dunbar Theater in the Southern Aid Society Building, Howard Theater, and Lucy Diggs Slowe Hall. 

This tour is recommended for adults only, as a frank discussion of domestic violence will be included.  Those interested in American literature, Howard University, and the Reconstruction Era will find much here of interest.

Tour Leader:

Kim Roberts is a literary historian who specializes in writers from Washington, DC. She is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She is editor of the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010). Roberts co-edits the literary journals Beltway Poetry Quarterly and The Delaware Poetry Review, and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. In 2018, the University of Virginia Press will release her newest book, A Literary History of Washington, DC from Frances Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston. Her website:

Contact: Linda Jarschauer Johnson, ljj1@cornell.edu202-302-0449.


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