Dr. Brian K. Mitchell describes Reconstruction as the most misunderstood period in American history. In the Jim Crow era, there was a concerted effort to reverse the achievements of African Americans. White supremacists also removed the history of figures such as Louisiana’s Oscar Dunn, the first Lieutenant Governor and acting governor, from the official narrative. Since the second grade, when he learned he was related to Oscar Dunn, Mitchell has been pushing against this historical amnesia.
Mitchell’s graphic history Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana was published by The Historic New Orleans Collection in 2021. He worked on Monumental with Nick Weldon, an associate editor at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Barrington S. Edwards of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design illustrated the book.
Dr. Brian K. Mitchell is an assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock and an associate faculty member at the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity. He earned his Ph.D. in urban studies with a concentration in public history at the University of New Orleans, his hometown. His research on race, violence, and the Elaine Massacre has been covered by CNN, NPR, Atlas Obscura, The Guardian, and the Associated Press. Previously he was a senior federal investigator for Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.