Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday - The Peanut President

I have visited several United States Presidential birthplaces or childhood homes.  The varied backgrounds of our Presidents are always a source of amazement for me.

Yesterday, we in the United States were saddened by the news that a former President, Jimmy Carter, has been diagnosed with cancer.  He had been operated on earlier this month for a mass in his liver.  Wherever the cancer started, it has spread.  The doctors may never find where the cancer originated.

President Carter, 90, has to "rearrange his schedule" for cancer treatment.  That is the kind of age 90 I admire - an age 90 of making a difference in the world with travel, charitable work, and even teaching Sunday School.

Here is a post I wrote on Jimmy Carter in 2010, when I visited his birthplace in Georgia.

They called him....

The Peanut President

Jimmy Carter has always fascinated me.  He came seemingly out of nowhere, seemed to have what it took to be President, but once he got into office he never succeeded.  Yet, in private life, he has succeeded beyond what may have been his wildest dreams.

What in his upbringing, what in his childhood values, what in his education made this man?

And why has this area of Georgia grown organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and others?  What here was so special?

We are visiting the Americus/Plains area to find out. In this blog entry I am concentrating on Jimmy Carter the man.

This is the house that Jimmy Carter grew up in.

Jimmy Carter grew up outside of Plains, GA in a solidly middle class family.  The actual town, which no longer exists, was called Archery.  The realities of rural life in those days created a childhood of lots of hard physical labor.  His father, loving as he was, did not believe in keeping anything on the farm that did not "pay its own way".   And this was hard farming, although the Carters were rich enough to have tenant farmers.  Still, Jimmy worked side by side with area black farmers, performing distasteful chores such as "mopping cotton".

"Miss Lillian", Jimmy's mother, was a nurse who did not turn anyone away, black or white.

Jimmy's father encouraged Jimmy to work and play alongside of the local black farmers.

The Carters grew cotton, peanuts, and sugar cane.  Student farmers still raise these crops at the homestead today.  They kept goats for meat, and mules to plow the fields.

And, in this windmill, is the germ of using "alternate energy".  There is nothing new about windpower.

The Plains High School the Carters attended has been closed (as part of consolidating various school districts).  This is a classroom set up the way it would have looked for Jimmy Carter in the 7th grade. Like so many famous people, Jimmy Carter credits a high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, as another great influence on his life.  In 1940 Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to the White House to honor her.  I highly recommend reading about her life.

 This is the outside of the high school.

Plains was the "Big City" for Jimmy Carter.  This is what it looks like today:

Jimmy Carter lives just outside of Plains today, and when he is in town, teaches Sunday School at his church.  This is Jimmy Carter's "Church Home".

When we had first planned our trip, Mr. Carter was not supposed to be in town but this has since changed. We won't be able to change our plans but it certainly would have been interesting.

The Carters also raise a lot of money by auctioning various belongings, momentos, and even paintings.

So, what about this childhood made Jimmy Carter so special?  Didn't many other Georgians had a similar rural childhood?  Not exactly.  There were Jimmy's parents, the hard work ethic instilled in him, his travel in Navy service.  But what else?  The Americus area has something very special, and you can find out more about Americus by reading some of my other posts from 2010.


  1. Very interesting post about a national treasure. Actually, an international treasure. Jimmy Carter has made such a difference in the world. Let's hope he continues to do so for many more years.

  2. Thanks for the awesome share Alana! Very interesting post :)

  3. I really enjoyed this post. What a fascinating study, to visit the birthplaces of all the U.S. presidents. I would love to do that! Jimmy Carter was president when I was born, but I know nothing about him. I have no memory of him. Your post brought him to life for me.

  4. So sad to hear about his cancer. Still doesn't take away from his presidential footnote--he's lived the longest after his presidency than any other president. (Before him it was Hoover, but he passed him a few years back.)


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