Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum
Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2005
About one year after being elected pope, John Paul II made an historic visit to the United States in 1979. He was the first pontiff to make the journey over the Atlantic. While in the U.S., John Paul II went to the White House and was hosted by the Carters. They shared a commitment to spreading human rights around the globe.
During his 26 years in the Vatican, Pope John Paul II would meet with five U.S. presidents. He met with Carter's successor Ronald Reagan a total of seven times.
President Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Jay Hakes jokes that if (1) you are a president and (2) your mother is from Georgia, then you are destined to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The mothers of all three U.S. presidents who won the prize -- Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jimmy Carter -- hailed from the Peach State.
A bust of President Jimmy Carter in the lobby of the museum.
Carter left the presidency on January 20, 1981, deeply disappointed that he had been defeated by Governor Ronald Reagan. His last visitor to the Oval Office was Max Cleland, who brought the outgoing president a plaque with a quotation from Thomas Jefferson:
I HAVE THE CONSOLATION TO REFLECT
THAT DURING THE PERIOD OF MY
ADMINISTRATION NOT A DROP
OF THE BLOOD OF A SINGLE CITIZEN
WAS SHED BY THE SWORD OF WAR.
On his last day in the White House, Carter wrote in his diary that Cleland's gift "is something I shall always cherish" [Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith, p. 596].