Alice Dunnigan

Amanda Matthews

A statue of Russellville native Alice Dunnigan is being unveiled Sept. 21 the Newseum, a Washington, D.C. museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment. Dunnigan was a Kentucky journalist who broke racial and gender barriers.

Dunnigan rose from her childhood in Logan County as the daughter of a sharecropper and a laundress to become the first African-American woman to get press credentials to cover the White House and Congress. She achieved that journalistic breakthrough in 1947.

Sculptor Amanda Matthews created the statue of Dunnigan in her Prometheus Foundry in Lexington, Kentucky. Matthews said she got input from members of the Russellville community on how to express Dunnigan’s character in a sculpture.

"They wanted her to seem self-assured. They wanted her to seem humble but also knowledgeable," said Matthews. "They wanted her to be represented in a very fearless way.”

Prometheus Foundry

A statue of Kentucky native Alice Dunnigan will be on display at the Newseum, the Washington, D.C museum that promotes an understanding of freedom of the press and the First Amendment. Dunnigan was the first African-American woman to get credentials to cover Congress and the White House.

Dunnigan was a sharecropper’s daughter from Logan County who became a teacher and then a journalist working for the American Negro press. In 1947 she was the first African-American woman to receive  Congressional press credentials. 

Her statue will be on display at the Newseum beginning September 21 and will remain there for several months. After that, the statue will become part of the West Kentucky African-American Heritage Center in her hometown of Russellville.

Michael Morrow is a volunteer historian in Russellville who serves as a guide at the African-American Heritage Center. Morrow said Dunnigan had to push hard to get access to the highest levels of government.