Humble and Wise, Our 39th President...Jimmy Carter
Welcome to Plains
Peanuts and a President
This past summer, my husband Mike and I, took a weekend trip to Plains, GA. Plains is a very small South Georgia town of approximately 800 residents. It is home to a giant peanut, and a candy shop that sells roasted peanuts, boiled peanuts, candied peanuts, and delicious peanut butter ice cream. It is also home to our 39th President, Jimmy Carter, and his wife Rosalynn.
This was our second trip to Plains, Years ago, we had brought our sons to this small town. We only expected to revisit history. The high school, train station, and President Carter's boyhood home have all been turned into museums. Especially, in this election year, we just wanted to see it all again.
We didn't expect to attend church on Sunday morning, and meet this wise, intelligent, and humble man.
Future Decided at Age Five
President Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924 in Plains, GA. His full name is James Earl Carter, Jr. His parents were Earl and Lillian Carter. He was a child of the depression, growing up on a farm, with a family that was ahead of their time. Amazingly, this child of the old south, was raised to be color blind. His best friends were African-American children, that were the sons and daughters of farm workers. He grew up believing in equality for all. A concept he has adhered to his entire life. (1)
In the school museum, there is memorbillia from his school career. At age five, he wrote that he wanted to grow up and go to Annapolis, and be in the Navy. In 1946 he graduated from the U.S. Navel Academy in Annapolis. After graduation, he promptly married Rosalynn Smith. She was also from Plains.
In 1966, Jimmy Carter became a Georgia State Senator. In 1970, he became Governor of Georgia. Then in 1976, Jimmy Carter, from Plains, GA, was elected President of the United States.
Jimmy Carter was inugarated in January of 1977. According the information at the high school museum, almost the entire town of Plains accompanied Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter on the train to Washington, D.C.
Similar to today, our country was going through some hard times. It was a time of inflation, and high unemployment. As today, conflicts were taking place around the globe. As today, being President, he received blame for things that were out of his control.
Jimmy Carter has always been a man of peace and diplomacy. A highlight of his career was the "Camp David Accords", where he was able to negociate peace between Isreal and Egypt. Also during his career was Salt 2, and the Panama Canal Treaty. He also established a National Energy Policy. (2)
In 1979 to 1981, conflict increased with the "Iran Hostage Crisis", and the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan. President Carter was the one to negociate the release of the hostages, but did not actually receive credit for his accomplish, as the hostages were released after his term as President had ended.
After the Presidency
President Carter and his wife Rosalynn, moved back to Plains when his term as President ended. They could have retired to a life of gardening and fishing. This was never in the Carter's plans. Both President and Mrs. Carter have worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to promote peace around the world.
They started the Carter Center, and have worked around the globe with Habitat for Humanity. They have helped save lives in third world countries with healthcare innovations. In 2002, Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Carter Center
- The Carter Center: Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering
The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.
Habitat for Humanity
Meeting a President
A Man of the People
The welcome center in Plains keeps a copy of the Sunday school rotation at his Baptist Church. Visitors are welcome to attend his Sunday School class, and stay for the church service.
Security is present, and going in the door, is similar to boarding a plane. Once you have passed the security, though you are in a simple Southern Baptist Church. Jimmy Carter becomes a Sunday School teacher, rather than a President. As he teaches his lesson, his Biblical knowledge is evident. He entwines his lesson with true stories of conflict in the world, social issues, and the importence of people learning to respect each other, and work for peace in the world.
After the service President Carter and Rosalynn stand for picture after picture taken with visitors. As I said, a man of the PEOPLE.
A visit to Plains, GA is an awesome lesson in history.
1. From Museum information.
2. Wikipedia, Jimmy Carter.