Cokie Roberts a hit with Feast crowd

  • Thursday, February 20, 2014

Anita Crone/For the Times Author Cokie Roberts autographs books for attendees at her talk for The Moveable Feast on Saturday.

Cokie Roberts schmoozed with about 360 of her nearest and dearest friends Saturday at Pawleys Pavilion, sharing with them the tales of the women included in her latest book, “Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies.” This book is a revision of her best-selling “Founding Mothers” aimed at young readers.

Roberts, the daughter of politicians and a journalist and author, sold out The Moveable Feast benefit for the Waccamaw Library.

“Libraries are being asked to do more than ever before because what’s happened is that people, as we’ve had this terrible unemployment problem, people come in to the libraries and say to the librarian — now they’re called media specialists — ‘Can you help me with my resume?’ and to write up their resumes on the computers for their job applications.

“It’s happening at the same time that resources are diminishing rapidly because we’re all in this tight fiscal situation. And so it is really, really important to have outside groups — other than just the taxpayers — become friends of the library and support it.”

She explained that one of the reasons that she likes talking about the women she writes about is that they haven’t been talked about much.

“In fact, I’ve been talking to school groups — elementary school groups — and I start by saying, ‘When you look at those pictures, the Declaration of Independence and the battles, do you notice anything missing?’ And eventually, one little girl will raise her hand and say, ‘The women.’ I always joke with them and say, ‘Do you think there were women then?’”

Roberts reflected on her own background, covering women in politics and growing up with a mother who was a congresswoman and before that a congressman’s wife.

“I grew up with Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford,” she said.

She said that she realized that in this important part of our history, she didn’t know anything about the women.

“I knew that Martha Washington spent the winter at Valley Forge, but I didn’t know that she spent every winter of those eight long years of the Revolution going to camp for the winter,” she said.

And in an aside, she notes that it is a good thing that Lady Washington, as Martha was called, showed up because the General, Martha Washington’s term for George, “spent three hours dancing with Kitty Greene.”

And then there was Abigail Adams, who was told by John to flee with the children should the British come to close.

“Yes, John,” said Roberts, evoking Abigail, “and have a good dinner in Philadelphia.”

“There were so many patriots, and they were just remarkable,” Roberts said.

She brings the women to life, sharing tales of the hardships and successes, not only in the books, but in her talks promoting them.

Roberts lauded Eliza Lucas Pinckney who at 16 ran her father’s three plantations, and at 19, despite being undermined by her overseer and laughed at by other planters, developed indigo, one of South Carolina’s and the nation’s most important crops.

“These women were involved in all kinds of things — they wrote pamphlets and propaganda — they were the Fox and MSNBC of their generation; they went to war.”

One by one Roberts described the women, comparing what they faced with today’s issues.

They are the “friends” Roberts made while researching her books, including “Ladies of Liberty,” published in 2008 and “Founding Mothers,” in 2005, and she was happy to share them with her newest friends and neighbors in Pawleys Island, her second home.

Georgetown visit

Roberts will be at Clock Tower Books, 105 Screven St., Georgetown on Feb. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. She will be signing her latest children’s book, “Founding Mothers.”

For more information check out Clock Tower Books Georgetown’s Facebook page or call 843-546-8212.

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