I just read of the death of Lindy Boggs, former Congresswoman, at the good age of 95, and I thought that her passing deserved a moment of attention. She was one of the pathfinders for American women. Her husband, Hale Boggs, was the original holder of that seat in Congress, and during his terms, Mrs. Boggs worked alongside him as much more of a co-pilot rather than just as a political wife. She was active in the civil rights movement from the forties and fifties on, which was far from typical for a white Southern woman. Hale Boggs' small plane was lost over Alaska in 1973, and in those days, the widow often finished out the husband's term. With Lindy Boggs, though, it was more than just a legacy term. She was re-elected on her own merits again and again, until she retired in 1990 to help care for her adult daughter, who had terminal cancer. Here's something her obituary said that I didn't know: at the time she retired, she was the only white person in Congress representing a majority-black district.
The daughter who died, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, had been the mayor of Princeton, New Jersey. A surviving son is an attorney. Lindy Boggs' remaining daughter is journalist Cokie Roberts. Clearly an accomplished family.
People like Lindy Boggs did things that benefit many people. I'm sure I was helped by a lot of her work. So I wanted to mention her because it's easy to pass over these things. There's a certain reassurance from realizing that all along, even with all of our difficulties, there are good and hardworking people all over the place doing what they can to lighten the burden for others.