CNN Editorial Research
Here is a look at the life of Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States.
Birth date: October 1, 1924
Birth place: Plains, Georgia
Birth name: James Earl Carter Jr.
Father: James Earl Carter Sr., a farmer and businessman
Mother: Lillian (Gordy) Carter
Marriage: Rosalynn (Smith) Carter (July 7, 1946-present)
Children: Amy Lynn, Donnel Jeffrey “Jeff,” James Earl III “Chip” and John William “Jack”
Education: Georgia Southwestern College, 1941-1942; Georgia Institute of Technology, 1942-1943; US Naval Academy, B.S., 1946
Military: US Navy, 1946-1953, Lieutenant
Carter was the first US president to be born in a hospital.
Champion of human rights, especially regarding the governments of South Korea, Iran, Argentina, South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
The Carter Center, established by the former president and his wife in 1982, has observed 111 elections in 39 countries since 1989.
Created the Department of Energy and established a national policy to address the energy shortage.
Has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and has won three.
1953 – Works on his own farm in Plains, Georgia, and operates Carter’s Warehouse, a general-purpose seed and farm supply company.
1962 – Wins election to the Georgia state Senate.
1966 – Runs for governor and loses to Lester Maddox.
November 3, 1970 – Runs for governor a second time and wins.
January 12, 1971 – Is inaugurated as Georgia’s 76th governor.
1974 – Serves as the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional elections.
December 12, 1974 – Officially announces his candidacy for president of the United States.
November 2, 1976 – Elected as the 39th president of the United States.
January 20, 1977 – Inaugurated.
March 26, 1979 – In a ceremony in Washington, Egypt and Israel formally sign a peace treaty ending 31 years of war between them. The successful Camp David Accords are one of the highlights of Carter’s presidency.
November 4, 1979 – The US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, is stormed and diplomatic staff are taken hostage. Carter’s inability to successfully negotiate release of the hostages becomes a major political liability. The hostages are released on January 20, 1981, the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.
1982 – Becomes a professor at Emory University in Atlanta.
1982 – Founds the Carter Center in Atlanta, in partnership with Emory University. Carter Center initiatives include monitoring international elections, fighting diseases in developing countries and seeking international peace. One of the key accomplishments of the Carter Center is the near eradication of Guinea worm disease from more than three million cases in 1986 to 27 cases in 2020.
August 9, 1999 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for an American civilian.
May 14, 2002 – In a speech given in Cuba, Carter outlines his vision for improvement between the United States and Cuba regarding their trading relations. The speech is broadcast live and uncensored on Cuban state television.
October 11, 2002 – Wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
February 19, 2005 – The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) is commissioned.
February 11, 2007 – Wins a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio book of “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis.” He shares the award with Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
April 17, 2008 – Meets with Hamas leaders in Cairo, Egypt. US and Israeli government officials object to Carter’s meeting, as both governments classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.
September 15, 2009 – Carter causes controversy with remarks on NBC Nightly News about President Barack Obama. Carter says, “An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.”
August 27, 2010 – Carter negotiates the release of US citizen Aijalon Mahli Gomes. Gomes had been imprisoned in North Korea after entering illegally in January 2010. “At the request of President Carter, and for humanitarian purposes, Mr. Gomes was granted amnesty by the chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-Il,” the Carter Center says in a statement.
March 28, 2011 – Carter arrives in Cuba for a three-day visit, to meet with President Raul Castro.
April 26, 2011 – Visits Pyongyang, North Korea, for talks to ease tensions between North and South Korea, accompanied by former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.
May 4, 2011 – In a Washington Post opinion piece, Carter urges the support of the Hamas-Fatah unity government.
June 24, 2012 – In a New York Times opinion piece, Carter says that the United States is no longer a champion of human rights in light of recent legislative action and drone strikes.
July 7, 2015 – His autobiography, “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety,” is published.
August 3, 2015 – Has a “small mass” removed from his liver during surgery.
August 12, 2015 – Carter announces that “recent liver surgery revealed that [he has] cancer that now is in other parts of [his] body.” Carter says he will receive treatment at Emory University in Atlanta.
August 20, 2015 – Carter holds a press conference to announce that doctors found spots of melanoma on his brain and he will undergo treatment.
December 6, 2015 – Carter announces that according to his most recent MRI brain scan, his cancer is gone.
February 15, 2016 – Wins a Grammy Award in the Best Spoken Word Album category for the audio book version of “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.” It is his second Grammy win.
July 13, 2017 – Carter is admitted to a hospital in Winnipeg, Canada, after becoming dehydrated while working outdoors for Habitat for Humanity. He is released the following day.
February 10, 2019 – Wins his third Grammy Award in the Best Spoken Word Album category, this time for the audio book version of “Faith – A Journey For All.”
May 13, 2019 – The Carter Center says that the former president is recovering from surgery to repair a broken hip after falling at his home in Plains, Georgia.
June 3, 2019 – Emory University announces that Carter has become a tenured faculty member after teaching at the Atlanta-based private university for 37 years.
June 28, 2019 – Carter suggests that a full investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election would show that Donald Trump didn’t win the presidency. In response, Trump later says that Carter is a Democrat and repeating a “typical talking point,” calling him a “nice man, terrible president.”
September 17, 2019 – During a town hall at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Carter says if he were 80 years old he would not be able to handle the responsibilities of being President and jokes that he hopes there is an “age limit” on the office. The comments are especially notable as the age of the three top Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, who are in their 70s, has been the subject of ongoing debate.
October 6, 2019 – Carter receives 14 stitches after falling and hitting his head in his home. Hours later he travels to Nashville to speak at the Ryman Auditorium.
October 21, 2019 – Carter falls in his home and is admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for observation and treatment of a minor pelvic fracture.
November 12, 2019 – Undergoes an operation to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding from his recent falls, according to the Carter Center. The center says there are no complications from the procedure. He is released from the hospital on November 27.
December 2, 2019 – In a statement, the Carter Center says that the former president has returned to the hospital over the weekend for a urinary tract infection. Carter is discharged on December 4.
September 9, 2020 – The documentary film, “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,” is released in theaters.
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