Dunbar birthday celebrated at Wright Dunbar block party with coronavirus precautions

Sunday’s beautiful weather and the opportunity to honor Black history brought Austen Goolsby out to attend the Wright Dunbar Day block party in Dayton’s Wright Dunbar neighborhood.

The first annual Wright Dunbar Day was organized by Dayton businesswoman Tae Winston to celebrate the birthday of Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was born on June 27, 1872.

Dayton resident Goolsby, 30, said it is good to remember Dunbar “to remind people that we have such beautiful people on earth to strive for better.”

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“Let’s not forget the people who were here before us,” said Winston, who opened The Entrepreneurs Marketplace at 13 N. Williams St. in December and the Entrepreneurs Shoppe at 1109 W. 3rd St. in May.

She said the block party, which featured music and vendors selling food, clothing, jewelry and other items, was also an opportunity to showcase the neighborhood's businesses after the very difficult times of the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to bring some light back here,” Winston said. “It’s been hard for me. And I’m nervous now because we might have another shutdown.”

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She made face masks and social distancing mandatory for the block party so people would feel more safe gathering in the midst of the pandemic.

“If there were not masks required I would probably not be here,” said TJ Cartwright, 28, of Dayton. “I want to come out and support Tae and support Black businesses and support the Black economy.”

Janon Adams was working at a booth for the Dayton-based online retailer, 1019 Kurve.

“We just wanted to get out and represent Dunbar Days,” Adams said.

Nickee Wagner operates her Natural Livity soap company inside the Entrepreneurs Shoppe and in Clayton and had a booth at the block party. She was glad that people came out despite the pandemic.

“It’s really nice that it’s not stopping people from supporting local businesses,” Wagner said. “We really need the support.”

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