President Jimmy Carter: "I Was the Only White Child in the Neighborhood" (and How That Shaped His Life)

Season 7 Episode 620
Aired on 09/27/2015 | CC tv-14
James Earl Carter Jr. was born on October 1, 1924. His early years were spent in the rural town of Archery, Georgia. If he wasn't helping his father on the peanut farm, he was fishing or playing in the woods with his friends, most of whom were African-American.

President Carter says that growing up in a community that was predominantly black had a profound influence on his upbringing.

"I was really raised by African-American women," President Carter tells Oprah. "So I grew up in, you might say, a black culture. All my friends were African-American, and the people with whom I worked in the field and the people with whom I wrestled and fought and the people with whom I went fishing and hunting were all African-Americans, and so that was my life, and I felt, kind of, in an alien culture when I got old enough to go to a white school and that sort of thing.

"In fact," President Carter continues, "I try to think of the five people, other than my own parents, who shaped my life, and only two of them are white. The other three were African-Americans."

Watch as President Carter shares the details of his upbringing. Plus, he expresses his thoughts on the United States' current racial problems.