Blacks, and especially black women, have been and remain a rare commodity in the White House Press Corps. April Ryan, who was awarded the 2019 Freedom of the Press Award, is one of the few and maybe the only black woman to currently hold a seat in the White House briefing room.
One often hears people explain their success by saying they stand on the shoulders of those who went before. Well, in the case of black journalists in the White House one of those sets of shoulders today’s black journalist stand on belonged to Alice Allison Dunnigan from Russelville, Kentucky.
Dunnigan began her career in journalism at age 13, writing articles for the Owensville Enterprise. After a number of years in teaching, she decided political journalism was her calling and she moved to Washington seeking work with a news organization.
After overcoming many obstacles she, in 1948, became the first African-American female White House correspondent and the first black woman elected to the Women’s National Press Club.
Dunnigan passed in 1983 at age 77 following a life of hard work racial injustice, and storied accomplishment.