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Jimmy Carter biography

October 11, 2002

From his tenure as Georgia's 76th governor, to his election to the Presidency in 1977, Jimmy Carter has spent the better part of his life serving others.

As president, Carter mediated the peace accords between former arch-enemies Egypt and Israel, a peace that has lasted more than two decades. His post presidential work through the Carter Center in Atlanta, and as figure head for Habitat for Humanity, is arguably just as powerful in promoting peace.

But for all Jimmy Carter has accomplished on the worldwide stage, this son of South Georgia has never forgotten his roots.

Last year, President Jimmy Carter was in Albany signing copies of "An Hour Before Daylight", his memoirs of growing up in poverty in Southwest Georgia.  "Of the five people who shaped my life, in addition to my parents, only two are white," Carter said.  "I describe days on the farm during the depression years, under segregation customs but lived close to black neighbors."

Those depression era years shaped Carter, a champion for human rights. Carter's work with Americus-based Habitat for Humanity International has helped build tens of thousands of homes for people across the world. But there are many less publicized good deeds, like bringing a Rec center Plains in 1998, or visiting with children at the Americus Boy's and Girl's Club.

President Jimmy Carter has entertained many dignitaries at his home in Plains, including a 1997 visit with Palestinian President Yassar Arafat. Carter says his most significant work has been through the Carter Center that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

  • Carter facts-

NAME - James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr.

AGE - 78; born Oct. 1, 1924

HOME - Plains, Ga.

EDUCATION - Graduated in 1946 from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

EXPERIENCE - Entered state politics in 1962 and eight years later was elected governor of Georgia. Lost his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, but won the next election to become Georgia's 76th governor on Jan. 12, 1971.

Served as Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections.

U.S. president 1977-1981. In 1976, defeated Republican President Gerald Ford in the first post-Watergate election.

Returned home to Georgia after losing in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in 1980 after a presidency undermined by double-digit inflation, an energy crunch and the 444-day hostage crisis in Iran.

CARTER CENTER - He and his wife, Rosalynn, joined with Emory University in 1982 to form The Carter Center, an Atlanta-based think tank and activist policy center that addresses national and international issues.

FAMILY - Married Rosalynn Smith. The Carters have three sons and a daughter.
Source: The Carter Center, www.cartercenter.org
and The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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