Cokie Roberts, who passed away in September, 2019, was a highly respected journalist of my generation. She was the daughter of U.S. Representatives Lindy and Hale Boggs and author of the bestselling book “Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation.” Lindy Boggs was an original member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and strong supporter of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program.
The History, Arts & Archives site of the U.S. House of Representatives has a wonderful oral history project that chronicles the reflections of Cokie Roberts as she grew up in the backdrop of her congressional parents and historical landmark events, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here is a sampler from the abstract:
“Growing up in and around the U.S. Capitol shaped Cokie Roberts’ future as a nationally recognized congressional reporter. The daughter of prominent U.S. Representatives Hale and Lindy Boggs, who represented a New Orleans-centered district for half a century, Roberts recalled riding the old Senate subway, with its wicker seats; accompanying her father on the House Floor on the Opening Day of Congress in the late 1940s; prodding her father to speak out on the floor in support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and listening to prominent dinner guests such as Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas. In this far-ranging pair of interviews, Roberts also discussed lesser-known aspects of the House, such as the Radio-TV Gallery and the executive committee that oversees journalists’ accreditation, as well as her unique position as a congressional journalist in the 1980s while her mother was a leading Member of the House. Roberts’ recollections explain how the culture of congressional bipartisanship that was forged during World War II developed into today’s sharp partisan distinctions and obligatory emphasis on fundraising and campaigning.”
Civics teachers can access the transcript of the oral history project on the following link:
- Mark Molli, Associate Director, Center for Civic Education