Lillian Carter

A Compassionate Life


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About the Book

Written with the cooperation of President Jimmy Carter and his family, this book provides an intimate glimpse inside the life of the woman who—as nurse, mother and social justice activist in segregated southwest Georgia—made a lifelong habit of breaking the rules defining a woman’s place in and out of the home and the status of blacks in society. As the only white nurse in her rural community who cared for black families, as a 68-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer in 1960s India, as a fearless supporter of civil rights and as a First Mother unlike any other, Lillian Carter showed how individual courage, conviction and compassion can make a difference. Drawing on interviews with friends and colleagues, members of the Plains, Georgia, black community, Peace Corps Volunteers who trained with her, White House insiders and key players in the civil rights movement, as well as letters, documents and photographs never before made public, this book captures the essence of the woman the press dubbed “Rose Kennedy without the hair dye” and “First Mother of the world.”

About the Author(s)

Biographer Grant Hayter-Menzies lives in British Columbia. His works include biographies of Charlotte Greenwood, Princess Der Ling, Sarah Pike Conger, Pauline Benton, and Lillian Carter, along with the life of a dog, military mascot Rags of the First Division in World War I. He is the literary executor of playwright William Luce.

Bibliographic Details

Grant Hayter-Menzies

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9719-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1933-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by President Jimmy Carter 1
Preface 5

Part I. Daughter of the South 11
1. Bessie Lillian 12
2. The Plains of Dura 27
3. Nurse and Mother 42
4. Miss Lilly 72
5. “This fool thing” 90

Part II. The Eye of God 111
6. Mother India 112
7. Coming Home 133

Part III. First Mother of the World 145
8. Quiet Legend 146
9. First Mother 161
10. Believe 169
11. Mixed Blessings 189

Epilogue 205
Notes 207
Bibliography 218
Index 223