Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.) was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia. He grew up nearby in the community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman; his mother, Lillian Gordy, a registered nurse. He was educated in the Plains public schools, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. He later did graduate work in nuclear physics at Union College.
During his naval career he lived in many parts of the United States and served around the world, including the Far East. He rose to the rank of lieutenant (senior grade), working under Admiral Hyman Rickover in the development of the nuclear submarine program.
When his father died in 1953, he resigned his commission and returned to Plains. In addition to working his own farm, he continued a small business of his father's, selling fertilizer and farm supplies. He did the manual labor while his wife Rosalynn kept the books. Carter's Warehouse grew into a profitable general-purpose seed and farm supply operation.
Soon after his return to Plains, he became involved in the affairs of the community. He was chairman of the county school board and the first president of the Georgia Planning Association. In 1962 he was elected to the Georgia Senate. He waged his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966.
In 1971 he became Georgia's 76th governor. While in office, his fellow governors selected him to serve as chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Coastal Plains Regional Action Planning Commission, and the Southern Growth Policies Board.
In 1973 he became the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections. He announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on December 12, 1974, and won his party's nomination at the 1976 Democratic National Convention on the first ballot. He was elected President on November 2. 1976.
Jimmy Carter served as President from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. Noteworthy foreign policy accomplishments of his administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world. On the domestic side, the administration's achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy; deregulation in energy, transportation, communications, and finance; major educational programs under a new Department of Education; and major environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska Lands Act.
President Carter's autobiography, WHY NOT THE BEST?, was published in 1975. He published KEEPING FAITH: MEMOIRS OF A PRESIDENT in 1982, NEGOTIATION: THE ALTERNATIVE TO HOSTILITY in 1984, THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM in 1985, EVERYTHING TO GAIN: MAKING THE MOST OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, written with Rosalynn Carter, in 1987, AN OUTDOOR JOURNAL in 1988, and TURNING POINT: A CANDIDATE, A STATE, AND A NATION COME OF AGE in 1992.
His newest books include a description of the activities of the Carter Center and his own conception of how to develop peace among nations. It is entitled: TALKING PEACE - A VISION FOR THE NEXT GENERATION.
And recently, President Carter has published a collection of his original poetry entitled ALWAYS A RECKONING.
In 1982 he became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and, in partnership with the university, founded The Carter Center. Actively guided by President Carter, the Center addresses national and international issues of public policy. Carter Center fellows and associates join with President Carter in efforts to resolve conflict, Promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions. Through the Global 2000 program, President Carter advances health and agriculture in the developing world. The Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation awards an annual prize for outstanding Contributions to the advancement of human rights principles. In 1991 President Carter launched the Atlanta Project, a community-wide effort to attack the social problems associated with poverty. The permanent facilities of the Carter Center were dedicated in October 1986, and include the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, which is open to visitors. Also open to visitors is the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, which is located in Plains. It was established in 1987 and is administered by the National Park Service. President Carter has served on the board of directors and is a regular volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organizations that helps build homes for the needy in the United States and in underdeveloped countries. He also teaches Sunday School and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. An avid fly fisherman and woodworker, President Carter has written Articles on both subjects for various publications. Jogging, cycling, tennis, and skiing are other favorite kinds of recreation.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Ruth Carter Stapleton (Mrs. Robert T.) , died 1983.
Gloria Carter Spann (Mrs. Walter G.), died 1990.
William Alton (Billy) Carter III, died 1988.
Rosalynn Smith Carter, born August 18, 1927, in Plains, Georgia. Married July 7, 1946.
John William (Jack) Carter, born July 3, 1947, in Portsmouth, Virginia. His son, Jason James Carter, was born August 7, 1975, and daughter, Sarah Rosemary Carter, was born December 19, 1978. He is married to Elizabeth Brasfield of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Her children are John and Sarah Chuldenko.
James Earl (Chip) Carter III, born April 12, 1950, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His son, James Earl Carter IV, was born February 25, 1977. He is married to Ginger Hedges of Americus, Georgia. Their daughter, Margaret Alicia Carter, was born September 23, 1987.
Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff) Carter, born August 18, 1952, in New London, Connecticut. Married Annette Jene Davis of Arlington, Georgia. Children: Joshua Jeffrey Carter, born May 8, 1984, Jeremy Davis Carter, born June 25, 1987, James Carlton Carter, born April 24, 1991.
Amy Lynn Carter, born October 19, 1967, in Plains, Georgia.
Text by Steven H. Hochman