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Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Ray A. Dove, was a chemist, and a pioneer of integration in American industry. Both of her parents encouraged persistent study and wide reading. From an early age, Rita loved poetry and music. She played cello in her high school orchestra, and led her high school’s majorette squad. As one of the most outstanding high school graduates of her year, she was invited to the White House as a Presidential Scholar.