Did Jimmy Carter help his childhood friend out of prison?

As a child, little Jimmy Carter befriended Alonzo Davis. He was the nephew of black sharecroppers who worked the Carter family land. At the time, racial segregation was important and Jim Crow laws were in place. But the two friends spend a lot of time together despite their different status. They fought, chased rabbits, caught catfish and went to the movies, Jimmy Carter explains in his memoirs. A friendship led the then 14-year-old future president of the United States to question these rules that blacks and whites should not mix.

As they grow up, the two companions take very different paths. However, they were always in touch. Jimmy Carter joined the military and later became a senator. In 1969, he was also elected Governor of Georgia. Meanwhile, Alonzo Davis works as a general laborer in a cement factory. But his life takes a terrible turn. Overwhelmed by financial problems, Alonso discovers that his employer does not want to pay him. The two discuss it and a violent argument breaks out. They come down. Alonso's boss shows him a knife and starts stabbing him. But the latter later took out a weapon and shot the assailant dead. Alonzo Davis was hospitalized for several weeks following the injury.

Alonso, charged with murder, pleads guilty to manslaughter and pleads self-defense. He was eventually sentenced to five years in prison. He was later released on parole on July 26, 1971. He died of cancer in 1985.

Did Jimmy Carter, a childhood friend of Georgia's new governor-elect Alonzo Davis, play a role in his release? The person concerned has never responded publicly and opinions on the question differ.

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Jimmy Carter's sister Gloria says she was never involved in the affair. But Alonzo Davis denies this version. Jimmy Carter is said to have been instrumental in his release. “He always wanted to do something for others. He loved helping you out of sticky situations.” Alonzo Davis' son, Alonzo, gives his testimony to our colleagues at the Washington Post, leaving no doubt that the Democratic Party actively participated in his father's release. For biographer Jonathan Alter, Jimmy Carter “Personally recommended” said Mr. to the trial judge. Davis struggled defensively. Then he would have been tried for manslaughter instead of murder.

Diversity and protection of minorities

If Jimmy Carter was silent on race issues early in his career, the Democratic Party made it his hobby horse. Once elected, he shifted from campaign rhetoric to strong condemnation of racial injustice. He was offended by the unfairness and disadvantage of American prisons for the poor and minorities.

During his presidency, he also emerged as a defender of diversity. He elects more blacks, Hispanics and women to the federal bench than any previous president.

In his memoirs, the former president explains that his childhood friends shaped his views on race. “All my sports mates, all my field mates – with whom I hunted, fished, wrestled, fought – were black. My life has really been shaped by black cultureHe declared during a speech in 2014.

I was very comfortable in his house and I took care of his aunt and uncle like my own parents.”, he writes in his book “An Hour Before Daylight”, which describes his relationship with the Davis family. He also explains that for many years, they lived with and accepted the divide between them without realizing it. “I believe he was comfortable in our home during our youth; He and I did not think it unusual that we ate together in the kitchen rather than at the table where my family gathered for meals.”, writes Jimmy Carter. “We accepted it like breathing.”

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