Georgia’s two public broadcasting stations will air a new documentary tonight on the nation’s 39th president Jimmy Carter.

The ”In Their Own Words” series, airing at 8 p.m., is said to be one of the more candid looks at the country’s oldest living president, James Earl Carter Jr., who turns 97 on Friday.

Carter and those closest to him will talk about his rise from poor rural peanut farmer to Democracy’s most powerful post: president of the United States.

“It’s just very well done with him speaking about his life and career. It’s just very interesting,” Scott Woelfel, chief content officer for Public Broadcasting Atlanta, told Atlanta Civic Circle. “You get to hear right from him on the issues that helped define him as a president. I think it’s really one of the more candid interviews.”

In addition to hearing from Carter, other interviews include Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Sam Donaldson, ABC chief White House correspondent and Stuart Eizenstat, chief domestic policy adviser during the Carter presidency.

Carter was born Oct. 1, 1924 in Plains, Ga., a rural farming community about 170 miles south of Atlanta.

He married his hometown sweetheart Rosalyn Smith after graduating from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. in 1946. One of the longest-married presidential couples in U.S. history,  the Carters have three sons and a daughter. 

After a seven-year stint in the navy, Carter returned to Plains and later entered politics, serving eight years as governor of Georgia. His reputation grew among young southern governors because of his focus on ecology, efficiency in government and his efforts to break down racial barriers.

Carter announced his bid for president in 1974, and served as president from 1977 to 1981. During that time, he battled unrelenting inflation and unemployment. Efforts to reduce both led to a recession. Carter’s presidency was also marred by his efforts to get released a group of Americans held hostage in Iran. Their release came on the day Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, assumed the presidency.

Although Carter’s presidency was initially viewed as a failure by some historians and political observers, others would argue his most influential work came after his presidency. 

The Carter Center, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, opened in Atlanta a year after Carter left the White House. The center focuses on human rights, public health, elections monitoring and conflict resolution. 

Carter received the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing democracy, promoting social and human rights and reaching peaceful solutions to international conflicts.

ATL PBA will air the three-hour documentary in its entirety tonight, Woelfel said. 

Check your local ATL PBA and GPB TV listings for more details on the documentary. 

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