Father of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Joshua Dunbar was born enslaved in Kentucky. He fled to Canada along the Underground Railroad only to return to the United States to enlist in the 55th Massachusetts Regiment (Colored) in 1863. He moved to Ohio after the Civil War and married Matilda Murphy in 1871. Their son, Paul, was born in June 1872 and daughter, Elizabeth, in 1874. Joshua and Matilda’s relationship was tumultuous; they divorced in 1876.
Joshua died in the 1885 and is buried at Dayton National Cemetery.
This graveside (Section E, Row 14, Site 8) program is sponsored by th ePaul Laurence Dunbar branch of ASALH, Inc., and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.