Press Release from SEEK Museum
Russellville, Ky. -- A bronze statue of the first African American woman to be admitted to the White Houes and Congressional Press Corps will be dedicated on August 2, at 4 p.m. in Russellville, Ky. The statue of Alice Allison Dunnigan will be located on the grounds of SEEK Museum: Struggles for Emancipation and Equality in Kentucky on the corner of East 6th and South Morgan Streets as part of a new park area dedicated to civil rights.
Dunnigan was born in Russellville in 1906, the daughter of a tenant farmer and a laundress. After graduating from the segregated Knob City High School in Russellville, she completed a teacher's course at what is now known as Kentucky State University and began an 18-year career as a teacher in Logan and Todd counties. During World War II, Dunnigan moved to Washington, D.C. and began working for the Associated Negro Press. She became head of its Washington Bureau on Jan. 1, 1947. In August of that year, after she had successfully lobbied for a change in the rules of the U.S. Senate to allow African American journalists to attend presidential press conferences, Dunnigan began her career reporting on all branches of the federal government.
In 1948 Dunnigan again made history by being the first African American woman to travel with and report on a Presidential tour when she went on the whistle-stop tour with President Truman. She personally paid the expenses for this trip after her boss told her, "Women don't make trips like that." Her statue has been on its own whistle-stop tour, having been displayed at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the University of Kentucky, the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, and Kentucky State University. The statue was created by Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell, owners of Prometheus Art of Lexington, Kentucky.
Dunnigan received more than 50 awards during her lifetime and has been inducted into the Kentucky Halls of Fame for Civil Rights, Journalism and Writers, and the Hall of Fame for the National Association of Black Journalists. She authored two books: "A Black Woman's Experience from the School House to the White House" and "The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians: Their Heritage and Traditions."
The dedication ceremony will be open to the public.
Gran Clark or Michael Morrow
PO Box 116
Russellville, KY 42276