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Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman to Cover White House, Will Get Statue at Newseum

Black Women in History

Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman to Cover White House, Will Get Statue at Newseum

By Karen Zraick via

Her father was a sharecropper and her mother took in laundry. Her grandparents were born into slavery. She endured poverty, segregation and sexism. Yet none of these factors impeded her ambition to become a journalist.

Alice Allison Dunnigan (1906–1983) would become the first black woman accredited to cover the White House. But not all Americans were ready to accept her in this position; their actions would soon make that clear.

Dunnigan covered Congressional hearings during a time when racism in America was rampant and the N-word was commonly used on the floor. She was barred from reporting on a speech given by then-Pres. Dwight Eisenhower. Upon the death of Sen. Robert Taft (1953), Dunnigan wrote her report while sitting in the servants’ section.

Dubbed a “straight-shooter,” politicians went out of their way to avoid Dunnigan’s tough questions, which often involved race. During formal functions held at the White House, she was often mistaken for the wife of a visiting dignitary. A Black woman attending such…

Read More: Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman to Cover White House, Will Get Statue at Newseum


I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

Flying High

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