At Mother Dunbar’s Request
Saturday, March 15th,
Sunday, March 16th, 3:00 PM
61 West Superior Street
At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Frederick Douglass called Paul Laurence Dunbar “the most promising young colored man in America.” Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872 and a friend of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Dunbar would become one of the most prolific and acclaimed poets, playwrights and lyricists of his time, known for both his dialect and Standard English works. In fact, Dunbar wrote the lyrics for the first productions on Broadway to feature all-African American casts. Set in 1906 and designed to evoke a traditional parlor evening of the early 20th century, this staged production of At Mother Dunbar’s Request, written by Paxton Williams, sees a pensive and spirited Dunbar entertaining guests as only he can. The work features over 30 Dunbar poems as well as a number of Negro spirituals and works by Stephen Foster, Will Marion Cook, Frederic Chopin, Sir Edward Elgar and Robert Burns. This production shines a light on Dunbar’s humor, wit, and appreciation for the time in which he lived, and shows how relevant his works can be today, addressing as he did topics such as race relations, the criminal justice system, creativity and imagination, love, nature, and religion.
This exhibition presents photographs and ephemera from the poet Jun Fujita (1888-1963). Fujita is an English-language tanka poet who published regularly in Poetry during the 1920s. The first Japanese-American photojournalist, he is responsible for the most famous photos of the Eastland disaster, the Chicago race riots of 1919, and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, among others. This show will explore his lesser-known landscapes.