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 "