Photograph of the opening of the First National Women's Conference, Houston, 1977 by its official photographer
More about Peggy Kokernot, left, foreground, and the torch relay, from
"To bring attention to women's rights a torch relay was set to cover 2,610 miles from Seneca Falls, New York (the birth place of the first women's right convention in July 1848) to Houston.
The movement was faced with a problem in Alabama with no runner. According to Edith Grinnell (Peggy Kokernot's mother), Phyllis Schlafly, the National Chairwomen of STOP ERA, a national right wing movement, had convinced the Alabama women runners not to support "this radical group of equal rights women under any circumstances!" and she succeeded in stopping them. There was a 16-mile stretch in Alabama which had no available runners for the relay. The torch bearers would be stopped in their tracks with no one there to take the torch and continue to run.
Mary Ann McBrayer, who was the Houston contact for the relay committee for the Conference, contacted Peggy and made the arrangements to fly her to Alabama to run the segment and to be one of runners to carry the torch the last mile to the convention center.
The day the torch was carried into the Albert Thomas Convention Center, two former First Ladies (Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson) and current First Lady Rosalyn Carter rose to accept the torch on behalf of the Women's Conference. "