The first time I heard “The Party” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, it was recited by Ms. Eunita Rushing, an alumna of his namesake school in Chicago. I had not known Ms. Rushing to be such an orator, and though the Hall of Fame Induction that night was in honor of famous dignitaries like Bernard Shaw, Reuben Cannon, Mr. T., and Lou Rawls, the true hit was Mr. Dunbar, himself, through the brilliancy of Ms. Rushing.

Since then, I have memorized and recited small snippets whenever I teach the African American dialect, but never with the power and verve of Eunita Rushing. Please enjoy this rendition of “The Party” as done by Karen Wilson, singer and storyteller for the Favorite Poem Project, New England Foundation for the Arts; and if anyone should ever see Eunita Rushing, please let her know the impact she had on us that night.

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