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The First Black Woman Journalist To Get White House Credentials Is Getting Her Own Life-Size Statue

The First Black Woman Journalist To Get White House Credentials Is Getting Her Own Life-Size Statue


Alice Dunnigan: University of Georgia Press

A life-size statue in honor of Alice Allison Dunnigan will be unveiled next month at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum, a non-profit interactive museum dedicated to preserving the history of American journalism. In 1948, Dunnigan became the first Black woman to receive press credentials to cover the White House during former President Harry Truman’s campaign tour. She was also the first Black woman allowed to cover Congress, the Supreme Court, and the State Department.

The Russeville, Kentucky native completed teaching courses at what is now Kentucky State University and began her reporting career in her home state before moving to Washington, D.C. during World War II. She spent 14 years as the head of the Washington’s chapter of the Associated Negro Press. She contributed countless stories to over one hundred African American newspapers across the country. Although she made significant strides as a reporter and journalist, she often times faced overt racism and sexism in the then white male dominated field. In one or her more notable reflections of her early career, she shared: “Race and sex were twin strikes against me. I’m not sure which was the hardest to break down."

Dunnigan passed on in 1983, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance and excellence that broke down significant barriers for both Black men and women in the fields of journalism and media.

The bronze sculpture, created by Kentucky artist Amanda Matthews, will be unveiled on September 21 at the Newseum and will remain on display until December 16.

Photo credit: Amanda Matthews

Afterwards, the statue will be moved to Dunnigan’s hometown of Russellville, Kentucky where it will be permanently installed on the grounds of the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center. The part of the park where the statue will rest has been dedicated to the American Civil Rights Movement.