Cokie Roberts' Iconic Mom Dead at 97
Former congresswoman Lindy Boggs pushed women's rights
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2013 12:29 PM CDT
Lindy Boggs in a 2000 file photo.   (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File)

(Newser) – The name Lindy Boggs may not be of the household variety anymore, but the political obituaries rolling in for the former Louisiana congresswoman (and mother of ABC's Cokie Roberts) make clear why it once was. Boggs, 97, first helped her husband rise through the ranks of Congress, then won a special election for his seat in 1973 when he was killed in a plane crash. Some of the obituary highlights:

  • She "used the soft-spoken grace of a plantation lady to fight for civil rights during nearly 18 years in Congress," writes the AP.
  • The New York Times illustrates the point with this example: When the House banking panel was working on an amendment to bar discrimination, she added the words "sex or marital status," then personally ran off copies for the panel. "Knowing the members composing this committee as well as I do, I’m sure it was just an oversight that we didn’t have ‘sex’ or ‘marital status’ included," she told them. "I’ve taken care of that, and I trust it meets with the committee’s approval." And "thus was sex discrimination prohibited by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974," writes the Times.

  • She was her state's first female member of Congress, the first woman to chair the Democratic National Convention (1976), and co-founder of the Women's Congressional Caucus. When she retired in 1990, she was the only white representative from a black-majority district, a credit to her civil rights work, reports the Washington Post. (It calls her a "Democratic Party doyenne from Louisiana whose magnolia charm and political acumen" helped both her and husband Hale.
  • She "was groundbreaking, tenacious and, above all, gracious," write the editors at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "She made a mark on her beloved home state and her nation that isn't likely to be equaled."
  • Roberts isn't her only famous child. Son Thomas is a prominent DC attorney and another daughter, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, died while serving as mayor of Princeton, NJ.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Jul 29, 2013 5:54 PM CDT
Cokie Roberts?/ Was she into drugs or something ? Im just askin people .....
Jul 28, 2013 7:04 AM CDT
In the daily newspaper, one will find many obituaries of ordinary folk who contribute so much during their life. I loved watching Cokie, even though she was liberal, and never knew this about her mother. A great woman and a great life!
Jul 27, 2013 7:02 PM CDT
There was a time when my mother, the responsible, educated adult in our home, couldn't apply for a home mortgage on her own credit. Thank you Lindy Boggs. Thank you for helping my widowed mother buy her first home. Thank you for allowing my big sister and me buy our own homes, too. We couldn't have done it without you. There are people in public office who change lives for the better. You were one of those people. Greatness has passed, but the memory of the good that you did will live on. RIP, you wonderful woman.