Did you know: Two of Dayton’s most famous people ever were high school buddies

Did you know Orville Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar were classmates?

The Dayton Central High School class photograph above from the Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University captures the two students and their classmates in 1890.

Dunbar, one of the first nationally- known African American writers, is at the top left.

Wright, who along with his brother Wilbur invented the first successful airplane, is in the center of the back row.

Though Dunbar was the only African-American in his class, he was president of the literary society, editor of the school newspaper and a member of the debating club, according to the Ohio History Connection. Orville Wright did not finish high school.

The teenage classmate’s relationship continued outside of the school room.

Dunbar published a newspaper called the “Dayton Tattler,” the community’s first African-American newspaper. It was printed by the Wrights who had started a newspaper in 1889 called the “West Side News.”

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