Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an African American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though some of his writing used a Negro dialect, other writing does not use dialect. These more traditional poems have become of greater interest to scholars. This poem first appeared in Dunbar's first professionally published volume, Lyrics of Lowly Life, (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1896).
We Wear the Mask" is reprinted from The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. Paul Laurence Dunbar (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1913).