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An Hour Before Daylight

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Jimmy Carter

Born on October 1, 1924,Jimmy Cartergrew up on a Georgia farm during the Great Depression. InAn Hour Before Daylight, the former president tells the story of his rural boyhood, and paints a sensitive portrait of America before the civil rights movement. … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Jimmy Carter
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, History
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
1 review about An Hour Before Daylight

Learn about the rural south in the early 20th century

  • Mar 2, 2002
Former President Jimmy Carter is one of the people who truly drove the South to change from the deeply entrenched segregated society. He grew up taking segregation as a fact of life, ignoring the inconsistencies and absurdities. Leaving his rural roots to be educated at the naval academy, he came back to be a leader in the desegregation movement. Much has been made about the role of the Northern whites, whether they be federal officials or civil rights workers. However, it was people like Carter with the courage and foresight to understand the necessity who truly made it happen.
While Carter describes the segregated society of his boyhood in great detail, this is not a story about a great awakening to push for equality. The main theme is his family life before he went to college and how hard his and all other families worked. Southern society was generally a poor one and most families, including many who were white, struggled to survive. Given the tremendous changes that economic development has made in the South, it is easy to ridicule sharecropping as an extension of slavery. Such a position shows an ignorance of history. As Carter describes in great detail, there were few other options available and many people had no choice.
I remember seeing his mother, Miss Lillian on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I was impressed with her then and am even more so now. In many ways she was a pioneer in her treatment of blacks and Carter is very poignant in describing that his father's only alternative was to pretend it was not happening.
Jimmy Carter's presidency is generally rated as somewhere in the high mediocre. This was not due to a lack of character or absence of work ethic. He worked hard as a boy and that continued into his adulthood. If you want to learn about his youth or what it like was like in the rural south in the early twentieth century, then you should read this book.

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