Press/Journalists

Celebrate NPR’s “Founding Mothers” Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie Apr. 13 at 6 pm
Press Release · Monday, April 12, 2021

Washington, DC

Celebrate the “Founding Mothers” of NPR on Tuesday, April 13, at 6 pm, when journalist Lisa Napoli shares her captivating biography, Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie, about these four women whose voices defined NPR, their deep enduring friendships, and the trail they blazed to becoming icons. Joining Napoli in conversation are NPR’s “Founding Mothers:” Susan Stamberg, Linda Wertheimer, and Nina Totenberg. The panel will also pay tribute to “Founding Mother” Cokie Roberts, who died in September 2019. Register to attend (virtually) here. Watch the virtual program livestreamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

In the years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women in the workplace still found themselves relegated to secretarial positions or locked out of jobs entirely. This was especially true in the news business, a backwater of male chauvinism where a woman might be lucky to get a foothold on the “women’s pages.” But when a pioneering nonprofit called National Public Radio came along in the 1970s, and the door to serious journalism opened a crack, four remarkable women came along and blew it off the hinges. In the years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women in the workplace still found themselves relegated to secretarial positions or locked out of jobs entirely. This was especially true in the news business,

The women had radically different backgrounds. Cokie Roberts was born into a political dynasty, roamed the halls of Congress as a child, and felt a tug toward public service. Susan Stamberg, who had lived in India with her husband who worked for the State Department, was the first woman to anchor a nightly news program and pressed for accommodations to balance work and home life. Linda Wertheimer, the daughter of shopkeepers in New Mexico, fought her way to a scholarship and a spot on-air. And Nina Totenberg, the network's legal affairs correspondent, invented a new way to cover the Supreme Court. The book is based on extensive interviews and calls on the author’s deep connections in news and public radio. 

Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote and programs presented in conjunction with the exhibit are made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, AT&T, Ford Motor Company Fund, Facebook, Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fund at the Boston Foundation, Google, HISTORY ®, and Jacqueline B. Mars. Additional support for National Outreach and Programs provided by Denise Gwyn Ferguson, Maggie and Robert Boroujerdi, BMO Financial Group, The Hearst Foundations, Maris S. Cuneo Foundation, FedEx, Bernstein Family Foundation, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation/Ambassador Fay-Hartog Levin (Ret.). 

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This page was last reviewed on April 12, 2021.
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