The first Black woman, Alice Allison Dunnigan, to cover the White House will be honored with a bronze statue. The statue is set to be unveiled at a Washington museum, dedicated to promoting a free press, next month. She also made history as the first African- American woman to qualify for the opportunity to cover the White House, according to reports by Newseum. The life-size statuethat will be unveiled in her honor will be displayed at the museum from Sept. 21st through to December 16th, at its Pennsylvania Avenue site which is near the White House.
The Newseum has had a reputation of being an interactive museum that puts emphasis on the essentiality of free press and Americans’ constitutional right to free expression. They have highlighted this in a positive light despite Trumps many unwelcomed utterances, including referring to the media as “the enemy of the people.” However, the reputed organization came under fire and public backlash for selling “Make America Great Again” hats and “fake news” shirts.
After the scrutiny and criticism from journalists and media groups across the country, the museum removed the controversial “You Are Very Fake News” t-shirts from its shelves. They issued an apology, but insisted that they would not remove the “Make America Great Again” shirts as they have always sold presidential campaigns’ merchandise. Their statement read, “We made a mistake and we apologize. A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.” They however said that they will celebrate “the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely.” In the stamen they said, “We’ve historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase,” the museum said. “That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties. We continue to do so in celebration of freedom of speech.”
Dunnigan died in 1983 and was also the first black woman to receive credentials to cover Congress, the Supreme Court and the State Department. She reported on President Harry Truman in the 1940s all the way to the 1950s.
Newseum said in a statement, “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.’”
She was the head of the Associated Negro Press for 14 years from 1947. In her time, she provided stories to up-to 112 African-American newspapers across the nation.
USA Today reports that, “The statue of Dunnigan was created by sculptor Amanda Matthews, who is from Dunnigan’s home state of Kentucky. It is being cast at the Prometheus Foundry in Lexington, Kentucky. After being displayed at the Newseum, the sculpture will be taken to Dunnigan’s hometown of Russellville, Kentucky, and installed on the grounds of the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center as part of a park dedicated to the civil rights movement. Dunnigan began her reporting career in Kentucky before moving to the nation’s capital during World War II.”