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First Black Women to Cover the White House Are Honored in the Briefing Room.

Alice Dunnigan and Ethel L. Payne had to fight sexism and racism to cover one of the most prominent beats in the world, written by Erica L. Green.

Alone atop the Hill: The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press.

In 1942 Alice Allison Dunnigan, a sharecropper’s daughter from Kentucky, made her way to the nation’s capital and a career in journalism that eventually led her to the White House. With Alone atop the Hill, Carol McCabe Booker has condensed Dunnigan’s 1974 self-published autobiography to appeal to a general audience and has added scholarly annotations that provide historical context.

Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991) - Ethel Lois Payne was born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Her grandparents on her father’s side were enslaved until the end of the Civil War. Her father worked as a Pullman porter, and her mother stayed at home to look after their six children.

The White House unveiled a press toast lectern in honor of Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne, the first two Black women in White House press corps - November 30, 2023.

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