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Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States (1977-81) and later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
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Learn about the legacy of Jimmy Carter and his many philanthropic efforts.
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Born and raised in Georgia, Jimmy Carter was an officer in the Navy, a peanut farmer, and the 39th President of the United States. Carter's presidency was marked by international crisis and domestic recession.
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Born on October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia, Jimmy Carter was 39th president of the United States (1977-81) and served as the nation's chief executive during a time of serious problems at home and abroad. Carter's perceived mishandling of these issues led to defeat in his bid for reelection. He later turned to diplomacy and advocacy, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002.
President of the United States of America. James Earl Carter Jr. was born on October 1, 1924 in Plains, Georgia. His father, James Earl Carter Sr., was a hardworking peanut farmer who owned his own small plot of land as well as a warehouse and store. His mother, Bessie Lillian Gordy, was a registered nurse who in the 1920s had crossed racial divides to counsel black women on health care issues. When Jimmy Carter was four years old, the family relocated to Archery, a town approximately two miles from Plains. It was a sparsely populated and deeply rural town, where mule-drawn wagons remained the dominant mode of transportation and electricity and indoor plumbing were still uncommon. Carter was a studious boy who avoided trouble and began working at his father's store at the age of ten. His favorite childhood pastime was sitting with his father in the evenings, listening to baseball games and politics on the battery-operated radio.
Both of Carter's parents were deeply religious. They belonged to Plains Baptist Church and insisted that Carter attend Sunday school, which his father occasionally taught. Carter attended the all-white Plains High School while the area's majority black population received educations at home or at church. Despite this pervasive segregation, two of Carter's closest childhood friends were African American, as were two of the most influential adults in his life, his nanny Annie Mae Hollis and his father's worker Jack Clark. While the Great Depression hit most of the rural south very hard, the Carters managed to prosper during these years, and by the late 1930s his father had over 200 workers employed on his farms. In 1941, Jimmy Carter became the first person from his father's side of the family to graduate from high school.
Carter studied engineering at Georgia Southwestern Junior College before joining the Naval ROTC program to continue his engineering studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He then applied to the highly competitive Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, which accepted him to begin studies in the summer of 1943. With his reflective, introverted personality and small stature (Carter stood only five feet, nine inches tall), he did not fit in well among his fellow midshipmen. Nevertheless, Carter continued to excel at academics, graduating in the top ten percent of his class in 1946. While on leave in the summers, Carter had reconnected with a girl named Rosalynn Smith whom he had known since childhood. They married in June 1946.
The Navy assigned Jimmy Carter to work on submarines, and in the early years of their marriage, the Carters – like many a military family – moved frequently.
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When Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left his fortune to create an annual series of prizes for the individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." The most prestigious of the awards is the Nobel Peace Prize. Historians believe Alfred Nobel wanted to award people who work for peace to compensate for his own role in inventing dynamite. Since its establishment, the prize has gone to many courageous individuals who have fought for peace and human rights around the world.
Nobel Peace Prize Winners 44 people in this group
The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
U.S. Presidents 43 people in this group
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