Alice Allison Dunnigan was the first black woman journalist documented to ever cover a presidential campaign and she is finally being honored for her work and contributions with a life-sized statue in Washington D.C.

Dunnigan was a Kentucky native, born to a tobacco sharecropper, Willie, and a launderer, Lena, in 1906, according to BlackPast. Alice tried to follow the family’s footsteps by marrying a tobacco sharecropper, just as her mother did, but ended the marriage when she felt herself wanting more and yearning for a different path. 

Dunnigan started taking journalism courses at Tennessee A&I University while teaching in the Todd County School System, coming to realize that her students and peers weren’t aware of their actual history. Specifically, there was a lack of knowledge about the contributions of black people in the building of Kentucky. 

Like every strong, black queen, Dunnigan took matters into her own hands by creating fact sheets on Kentucky to add to the required work in the school system. Her sheets were collected and turned into a manuscript in 1939. However, they weren’t published until 1982 in a work titled The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians: Their Heritage and Tradition.

Alice Allison Dunnigan did what was essentially impossible for a woman of her time. Born at the turn of the 20th century (in 1906), in an era in which women could not vote and African Americans (Blacks) were regarded legally as an inferior race, she accomplished what most women of her background could only dream of. Alice was one of the original trailblazers not only for women of Kentucky, but for African Americans and women everywhere. At fourteen she had established a weekly column in the Owensboro Enterprise titled “Home Town News”. She sold her paper for 5 cents and kept 3 cents for herself. During High School and College she wrote for various newspapers in Hopkinsville, Paducah, and Louisville, Kentucky. Alice moved to Washington, DC after loosing her teaching job and began working for the Associated Negro Press. Working for ANP she secured a capitol press pass, allowing her to cover news events of the Congress (which were generally kept off limits to the public and most reporters, and especially females and African Americans). By gaining a capitol press pass she became the FIRST Black female correspondent to receive White House credentials and the FIRST black female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries. Dunningan was also an activist in Civil Rights Movement chronicling many pivotal moments between the 1940-1960s. Why has she been one of my #SheRoes ? No matter what she faced, she never gave up hope of having an education and making her dream of being an accomplished journalist a reality. A true example of hard work and perseverance. There are so many people that made a way for us to have the opportunities we have today. Never take their hard work for granted. Make sure their legacy lives on. #AliceAllisonDunnigan #BlackHistoryMonth #365Black #Inspiration #Motivation #Encouragement #Empowerment #SouthernGirl #SouthernBelle #BlackGirlsBlog #BlackGirlsRock #BeautyBlogger #PageantQueen #Entrepreneur #Mentor #Advocate #Tennessee #HeartHealth #Model #Ambassador #FashionWriter #Fashion #Nutrition #Style ✒️📰 #Writer #Blogger #Journalist #TheSophisticateChronicles

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Despite the 43-year waiting period to publish her manuscript, that didn’t stop Dunnigan from hustling. She was one of the two black women in the press to cover the campaign of President Harry S. Truman in 1948. While covering the White House, she continuously asked about the civil rights movement.

She eventually left the American Negro Press galleries, shares BlackPast, and began working full-time for Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign in 1960, later working for Johnson when he became vice president and finally retired from government services in 1970. 

Although she passed in 1983, her work has been continuously recognized and celebrated, especially by journalists of color. Newseum, a non-profit news museum in Washington D.C. will be erecting a statue in her honor next month:

 "Throughout Dunnigan’s career, she battled the rampant racism and sexism that dominated the mostly white and male professions of journalism and politics. She once famously stated, 'Race and sex were twin strikes against me. I’m not sure which was the hardest to break down,'" the Newseum said in a statement, according to Essence.

The new bronze sculpture was created by Amanda Matthews and will be displayed at the Newseum between September 21st until December 16th, before moving to Dunnigan’s hometown of Russellville, Kentucky.

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