About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Cokie: A Life Well Lived

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s conversation with Steve Roberts and Rebecca Boggs Roberts about Steve’s new book, Cokie: A Life Well Lived.

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about two programs you can view next month on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, November 4, at 1 p.m., Philip Bigler, the author of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will share the history of the Tomb, which marks its 100th anniversary this year and is America's most cherished and revered military shrine.

And on Tuesday, November 16, at 1 p.m., Gayle Jessup White, a Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’s family, will discuss her new book Reclamation, which explores her journey to understand her heritage. Historian Annette Gordon-Reed will join the author in conversation.

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To many people, Cokie Roberts is most well known as a journalist, but she was also an advocate, bestselling author, and historian. She had a long and devoted relationship with the National Archives. She worked tirelessly on behalf of our education and outreach activities. I am so grateful to have had the privilege of working with her for 10 years and calling her friend. 

She spoke at many of our public events, including July 4th celebrations, worked tirelessly on behalf of our education and outreach activities, and played a leading role in our commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

Whenever Cokie and I walked through the Rotunda of the National Archives, talk would turn to the murals there that depict the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The author of two books about the women who helped shape our nation, Cokie always pointed out that there were no women depicted.

 On the night she would have received the National Archives Foundation's Records of Achievement Award in 2019, images of Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Martha Washington, and Eliza Hamilton were projected onto the Constitution mural, in tribute to her dedication to telling the stories of our nation’s “founding mothers.”

Cokie had an amazing career and public life, and in Steve Roberts’s new book, we also learn about the generosity and inspirational qualities she demonstrated in her  private life.

Thank you, Steve, for giving us the chance to get to know Cokie a little bit better.

Cokie Roberts was a long-time member of the National Archives Foundation. I'm pleased to introduce historian and journalist, and the Chair Emeritus of the NAF, A'Lelia Bundles, who will share some thoughts about Cokie and the National Archives Foundation.

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Steve Roberts has been a journalist for more than 50 years, including 25 years with the New York Times. Since 1991 he has taught journalism and politics at George Washington University while serving as the chief political analyst for ABC Radio and writing a syndicated newspaper column.


Rebecca Boggs Roberts is curator of programming for the Planet Word museum in Washington, DC. She is the author of Suffragists in Washington DC and coauthor of The Suffragist Playbook.

Now let’s hear from Steve Roberts and Rebecca Boggs Roberts. Thank you for joining us today.