DEM 2016 Convention

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears on a large monitor to thank delegates during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When Hillary Clinton finally crossed the threshold Tuesday night and became the first female nominee for president of a major party, lots of women paused to honor the crusaders who fought to create a world in which such a thing is possible.

The names spoken on the Democratic National Convention stage and across the internet belonged mostly to well-known barrier-busters who didn't live to see this day — people like Shirley Chisholm, the first woman and African-American to seek the Democratic nomination, 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, and sharp-tongued Texas Gov. Ann Richards, whose daughter Cecile addressed the convention in her role as head of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

As all this was happening, another touching tribute from an accomplished daughter caught my eye.

This one came via Twitter from broadcaster Cokie Roberts, who offered a virtual toast to her late mother, longtime U.S. Rep. Lindy Boggs of New Orleans.

Boggs, who died in 2013 after decades in public service following the death of her husband, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, doesn't often make lists of feminist icons. Blame that on her gracious southern style, perhaps, and her opposition to abortion, which she felt doomed her chances of being Walter Mondale's running mate instead of Ferraro.

But Boggs was an important figure in the quest for full equality nonetheless. Forty years ago, she was the first woman to chair a Democratic convention. And on a less symbolic but far more substantive front, she wrote the amendment that prohibited gender discrimination based on sex and marital status, along with race, religion and age.

In her memoir, Boggs recounted the story of how, as a member of the House Banking Committee, she quietly inserted that key language into the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, and practically dared her male colleagues to challenge her on it.

"Knowing the members composing this committee as well as I do, I'm sure it was just an oversight that we didn't have 'sex' or 'marital status' included," she recalled saying in her book, "Washington Through a Purple Veil: Memoirs of a Public Woman." "I've taken care of that, and I trust it meets with the committee's approval."

And ever since, women have had the legal right to take out a mortgage or car loan without having to ask a man's blessing, a right that I and countless others have exercised without having to give it a second thought.

"My mother Lindy Boggs worked all her life for this day," Cokie Roberts wrote after Clinton's nomination became official. "Raise a glass in heaven, Mamma! I know the men you got elected will join you. Right?"


Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.