"Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the
basic personal freedoms, the alleviation of suffering,
and the opportunity to lead a productive life..." -Jimmy Carter
James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr. (1924-), the 39th President of the United States, was instrumental in rehabilitating the housing project opposite this playground. Both the buildings and the playground are named in his honor.
Born in the small farming community of Plains, Georgia, Jimmy Carter was the son of a peanut farmer and storekeeper. He worked on his father’s farm as a boy, but always hoped to attend the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. In 1941, Carter became the first member of his family to attend college, enrolling at Georgia Southwestern College and transferring to the Georgia Institute of Technology. The following year he was accepted at Annapolis and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946, ranking 60th in his class of 820. Carter served in the Navy for nearly seven years, reaching the rank of lieutenant as an engineering officer aboard the nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Seawolf. In late 1953, Carter left the Navy to tend to his ailing father and maintain the family farm. A drought in 1954 created difficulties, but Carter turned the farm into a successful enterprise and expanded his operations.
Always interested in civic affairs, Carter was elected to the local school board in 1960 and to the State Senate in1962. He was defeated in his first bid for the governorship in 1966, but was elected to the position on his second attempt in 1970. In his inaugural speech, he asserted that “the time for racial discrimination is over, ” and, true to his word, he became the first Georgia governor to appoint African Americans to government positions. Carter also succeeded in consolidating state agencies and controlling state spending.
As governor, Carter gained national attention as a symbol of the new South, even appearing on the cover of Time magazine. He decided to run for the President of the United States in 1976, and defeated the incumbent President Gerald Ford. Carter’s ambitious domestic program for the country, however, languished in the committee rooms of a recalcitrant Congress. His greatest success was the 1978 Camp David Accords, a series of meetings between Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menahem Begin of Israel at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland. With Carter presiding, the leaders of the two countries, engaged in hostilities since 1948, managed to negotiate some limited agreements, the first indication that a Middle East peace was possible. Carter’s final two years in office were dominated by the Iranian hostage crisis in which 54 Americans were held hostage by the Iranian government for 444 days. Iran’s refusal to deal with Carter cost him his popularity and the 1980 election.
Jimmy Carter has found wide recognition as one of the most publicly active ex-presidents in the nation’s history. He has continued his role as peacemaker, helping negotiate agreements in a number of international disputes. The Habitat for Humanity, which Carter established with his wife Rosalynn, has built and renovated homes for low-income families in New York, Florida, and Georgia. Mr. and Mrs. Carter often join in the actual physical labor. On September 15, 2000 Carter participated in the dedication ceremony of the 100,001th house that Habitat for Humanity constructed.
Parks acquired Carter Playground, located in Crotona Park near Fulton Avenue, on December 8, 1888. Originally called Playground #7, Commissioner Stern renamed the Playground for Jimmy Carter on May 30, 1998. City Councilman Jose Rivera financed a $1,586,000 renovation for Jimmy Carter Playground and Crotona Playground #6. Work was finished on February 16, 2000.
Carter Playground contains four handball courts, two full basketball courts, and a spray shower surrounded by concrete walls with painted designs. The park also features blue and green play equipment with slides, monkey bars, and ladders, as well as swings, a water fountain, and benches. A flagpole with a yardarm flies the U.S., City, and Parks flags.
Directions to Crotona Park
Know Before You Go
The Crotona Park Nature Center is currently closed to the public as we develop the space and exhibits following a recently completed capital reconstruction. The center is expected to open to the public in Spring 2022.
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