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  • Alice Green

A Tribute to Rosalyn Carter

By Dr. Alice Green, Executive Director

As the world pays a well-deserved tribute to Rosalynn Carter, I wish to add a local and personal note that speaks to the sincerity and commitment of this wonderful woman. In late 1975, Mrs. Carter came to Albany almost unannounced. She was making designated stops across the country to learn more about two issues of deep concern to her – children in poverty and mental health. I was contacted and agreed to host her visit to Albany’s South Endand Trinity Institution (now Trinity Alliance), where I served as Executive Director. The Center was operating an early childhood education and Head Start program. She was so impressed with our work with infants, their mothers, and families of infants and children who work with steeped in poverty. We also talked about our joint concern over the lack of services and support for those suffering from mental health problems. A few of the mothers in attendance shared their stories regarding the impact of poverty in their lives.

Rosalynn expressed her deep gratitude to me for what she found to be an informative visit that touched her deeply. Unfortunately, coming from Plains, Georgia to Albany, she had not dressed appropriately for the cooler northern weather and was on her way to another stop in the northeast. So, I went to my home, collected warm sweaters for her and her companion, and took them to the Albany County Airport, where they were awaiting their flight for another visit elsewhere in the North. Again, she was so appreciative. After arriving back in Plains, Georgia, she returned my sweaters and sent me a very kind letter of thanks.

In 1976, I followed her as she became the First Lady and an “equal partner” with her husband in the White House. I continued to follow her after the couple left the White House and was amazed as they traveled the globe meeting with world leaders, fought diseases in poor countries, built housing for the needy, and called attention to poverty and the lack of mental healthservices. I applauded the couple’s founding in 1982 of the Carter Center, a not-for-profit organization that helps resolve conflicts, promote democracy, and prevent diseases. What a contribution Rosalynn Carter made to the whole world. She inspired me to continue my work in promoting social justice, and I hope others will receive her message of commitment and devotion to peace and non-violence. I am so thankful that I got to spend that special time with her. The world needs more who can embrace the love of others as Rosalyn Carter did.

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