An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood by Jimmy Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This memoir was written Jimmy Carter the former US President. It focuses on his childhood in Plains Georgia up until the time he left to go to college. I’m not one for reading biographies but found the book in library on a cruise ship. It written in a very readable style and presents a series of anecdotes from in and around the farm where he was raised. It is a story of growing up in the great depression. Although Carter does acknowledge that they did not do too badly.
He dedicates the memoir to his grandson or perhaps great grandson. It is with some sadness that he acknowledges that after 6 generations he is the last on the forma with his children and grandchildren having moved away from rural life. The memoir is an attempt to tell the story of his childhood.
He does write a lot about racial segregation and the ways that people skirted around it to continue their lives. Georgia is in the south of the US so it’s hardly surprising that this is the case. The remnants of this still influence the US to this day.
After the abolition of slavery making “all men free” the decisions were challenged in the US Supreme court. This lead to a judgement of “equal but separate” the most obvious example of this that black children were denied a public education. Rather than being taught in public schools their education was hidden in church halls and scratching for resources. However as a child Carter accepted this as the norm.
I read this quickly and found it an interesting and instructive read. I have always felt that Carter was a more humane US president and this does not dispel that notion.