Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DUNN, Oscar James, lieutenant governor of Louisiana, born in Louisiana in 1820; died in New Orleans, 20 November 1871. He was born a slave, and as soon as he was old enough to do manual labor was purchased by a firm in the plastering trade, but after reaching his majority ran away from his owners. When General Butler entered New Orleans he enlisted in the first regiment of colored troops raised in Louisiana, and reached a captaincy, the highest rank then permitted to his race. When an incompetent person was promoted over him to the rank of major, he resigned his commission. After the war Captain Dunn was active in promoting the reconstruction of his state. He had acquired wealth, and in 1868 became lieutenant governor of Louisiana. John R. Lynch, then secretary of state of Mississippi, in an oration delivered at his funeral, said: "There now he before us the remains of the first colored man who ever held an executive office in this country."
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