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

(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.

Lindy Boggs in a 2000 file photo.
Lindy Boggs in a 2000 file photo.   (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File)
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