The Logan County Friends of the Library will be starting a community reading project next week that is centered around the newly edited autobiography of one of the county’s most famous people – Alice Allison Dunnigan.
Dunnigan was an African-American journalist, civil rights activist and author. She was the first African-American female correspondent to receive White House credentials, and the first black female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries.
The book that will be discussed is “Alone Atop the Hill: Pioneer of the National Black Press,” which is an edited version of Dunnigan’s autobiography, which was just published last year.
“The original book is probably two and a half inches thick,” said Martha Davenport, who is organizing the community read. “This edited version is more friendly for the read project.”
Davenport said that a community read project has never been done in Logan County, but that they have taken place with success in other places.
“When we found out about this book, it just seemed like the perfect way for people here to learn about Alice Allison Dunnigan,” Davenport said. “This lady had the determination to succeed and, you know, it’s just like it is today; if you want something, you work to get it done.”
The Logan County Public Library has copies of the book for sale for $16 apiece, which is about a 40 percent discount off the regular price. Several copies are also available to be checked out at the library.
The community read project will meet every Monday in October. The first meeting will be on Oct. 3 with a tour of the exhibit about Dunnigan at the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center, 252 S. Morgan St., from 4-5:45 p.m.
Then at 6 p.m., there will be a discussion with Dunnigan’s family and friends will be at the KP Hall, which is located in the Concerned Citizens building on 5th Street. There will be a commentary on the book about desegregation in Logan County, “The Way It Was,” by Logan County native Nelson Weaver, and tree planting by the Russellville Urban Garden Project.
Discussion of the book will begin the following week on Monday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Logan County Public Library. There will be a discussion of Chapters 1 – 7 of Alone Atop the Hill.
There will also be a discussion about the Cedar Grove Rosenwald School by Clarence Gamble. Rosenwald Schools will be a main topic of the reading project, since Logan County was home to the most Rosenwald Schools in the entire state and the Cedar Grove school is the last one left standing in its original location.
Rosenwald Schools were any of the over five thousand schools, shops, and teachers’ homes in the United States which were built primarily for the education of African-American children in the South in the early 20th century. The project was the product of the partnership of Julius Rosenwald, an American clothier who became part-owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company and the African American leader Booker T. Washington.
On Monday, October 17 at 6 p.m. in the Logan County Library there will be a lecture on the Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky by Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Berea College, and discussion of chapters 8-12.
Dr. Turley’s presentation is sponsored by the Logan County Public Library. There will be an exhibit of Dr. Turley’s Rosenwald Exhibit at the library October 3 – 24.
The reading project will wrap up on Monday, October 24 at 6 p.m. in the Logan County Library with discussion of chapters 13-21, a dramatic presentation, and commentary from the editor of the book, Carol Booker, via SKYPE.
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