You are here


Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana
Brian K. Mitchell, Barrington S. Edwards, and Nick Weldon

BUY Paper · 256 pp. · 7 × 10 · ISBN 9780917860836 · $19.95 · Mar 2021

Monumental tells, for the first time, the incredible story of Oscar James Dunn, a New Orleanian born into slavery who became America’s first Black lieutenant governor and acting governor. A champion of universal suffrage, civil rights, and integrated public schools, Dunn fought for radical change during the early years of Reconstruction in Louisiana, a post–Civil War era rife with corruption, subterfuge, and violence.

A graphic history informed by newly discovered primary sources, Monumental resurrects, in vivid detail, Louisiana and New Orleans after the Civil War—and presents an iconic American life that never should have been forgotten. Contextual essays and a map and timeline add layers of depth to the narrative. Monumental is a story of determination, scandal, betrayal, and how one man’s principled fight for equality and justice may have cost him everything.


Visually compelling, deeply researched, and original in its account of Reconstruction in Louisiana, this book reminds us of the remarkable career of Oscar Dunn and of the unfinished agenda of Reconstruction. At a time of a renewed struggle for racial justice, it speaks to our moment as well as that of post–Civil War America.

Eric Foner, Columbia University · The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

A graphic narrative gives an unjustly neglected period in American history a labor-of-love illumination.... The incisive combination of text and illustrations creates an entirely satisfying historical story of both Dunn’s legacy and that of Reconstruction in general. An exemplary graphic work built on a foundation of impressive scholarship.

Kirkus, starred review

About the Author(s): 

Brian K. Mitchell is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Barrington S. Edwards is an award-winning teacher and artist and a publisher of comics and graphic media. Nick Weldon is Associate Editor at the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Books