On Friday, September 21, 2018, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Member, Alice Allison Dunnigan, was honored with a life-sized statue. She was the first African-American female journalist credentialed to cover the White House. A true trailblazer, Dunnigan also holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman with access to the Senate and House Press Galleries as well as the Department of State Press Corps.
The statue unveiling was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. International Grand Basileus (President), Deborah Catchings-Smith, attended the event along with Past International Grand Basileus (Past President) Dr. Mynora J. Bryant, Sigma Gamma Rho Executive Director Cynthia Eubanks, International Grand Epistoleus (Historian and Communications Director) Tamika Nicole Williams-Clark, Northeastern Regional Syntaktes (Regional Director) Thomasina Gore, ESQ, Cheryl Procter-Rogers (PR Consultant), and a whole host of Sigma Gamma Rho members and affiliates.
The event began with the unveiling of the statue. Sculpture creator Amanda Matthews introduced her work. Dunnigan’s great-niece Penny Alice Lockhart spoke on behalf of her family and welcomed everyone. The audience was amazed by the detail and care placed into the bronze sculpture. Noted Journalist Roland Martin provided live-streaming news coverage helping to mark the event’s significance. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) also attended this significant event.
A panel discussion followed the unveiling. Moderated by Sonya Ross of the Associated Press, panelists included Sculptor Amanda Matthews, Autobiography Editor Carol Booker, and Dunnigan’s granddaughter Soraya Dunnigan-Brandon. Catchings-Smith celebrated Dunnigan and her achievements in the field of Journalism. She also encouraged the audience to continue Dunnigan’s legacy of activism and excellence.
Special thanks to John Maynard of the Newseum and Tracy Brown (Phi Sigma Chapter) for assisting with research and coordination.