Rosalynn Smith Carter 1927 —
To say that Rosalynn Smith Carter has had a strong work ethic throughout her life would be an understatement. Born in Plains, Georgia, Rosalynn was the eldest of four children. She married James Earl (Jimmy) Carter when she was 18 years old and he was a young naval officer with a promising future. During the first seven years of their marriage, they moved several times to naval bases all over the U.S. Three of their four children were born during this time.
In 1953, they returned to Plains, Georgia to manage the Carter family’s peanut farming business. Rosalynn was responsible for the financial management of the growing operation. Their youngest child, Amy, was born in 1967. As Jimmy Carter launched his political career which would take him to the White House, Rosalynn learned the details of politics as well, becoming her husband’s most trusted advisor.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States and Rosalynn moved quickly to broaden the role of First Lady. In addition to attending Cabinet meetings and representing her husband on diplomatic missions, she worked tirelessly on issues affecting women and families including mental health advocacy and aid for senior citizens. She lobbied for the passage of the Older Americans Act and was an active Honorary Chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. She was a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Today, she is an integral part of The Carter Center, a non-profit humanitarian and policy making group where she chairs its Mental Health Task Force. Rosalynn Carter has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as many other honors. She remains active in her cherished causes and continues to make a difference for people around the world.
“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”