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In junior high school, I moved to Stone Mountain, Ga., an Atlanta suburb named for a huge slab of granite that features a relief of Confederate heroes Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. But for all the loyalty to the Confederacy that still exists in Stone Mountain, there’s also strong reverence for civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and former President Jimmy Carter. Although I’d learned about King during the requisite elementary school Black History Month lessons, I didn’t know much about Carter. But I’ve since grown to admire the world’s most famous peanut farmer, not just for his stand on international human rights, but for his ability to speak truth to power. In his latest book, An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of My Rural Boyhood, the civic-minded leader writes about growing up in rural Plains, Ga. Of the people he admired in his early life, only two—his parents—were white. His father was a strict segregationist farmer, but his mother—who served as a major moral role model—was continually bending Jim Crow rules. Carter acknowledges that growing up during such a confrontational time, and being influenced by his mother directly, shaped his life and his future choices in politics. He believes that much has changed in his home state. Then again, every time I drive past Stone Mountain, I’m not so sure. Carter signs An Hour Before Daylight at 12:35 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Maori Karmael Holmes)