Lillian Carter A Compassionate Life by Sidney author Grant Hayter-Menzies.

Lillian Carter A Compassionate Life by Sidney author Grant Hayter-Menzies.

A compassionate life

The story of Lillian Carter

Sidney author Grant Hayter-Menzies loves to delve into the lives of women. “I grew up in a house with a strong, courageous and troubled mother whose motivation to action fascinated me,” says Hayter-Menzies. “She was able to move mountains and be defeated by things that were strangely inconsequential.”

She helped develop his drive to tell the stories of other strong women.

His newest is Lillian Carter A Compassionate Life, which takes a look into the life of the woman who, as nurse, mother and social justice activist in segregated southwest Georgia, made a lifelong habit of breaking the rules defining a woman’s place in and out of the home and the status of blacks in society.

“I was taken into the family,” says Hayter-Menzies, who wrote to former President Jimmy Carter for permission to tell his mother’s story after reading Carter’s memoir, A Remarkable Mother.

“He told me I was welcome to do it and he invited me to an event honouring his mother with an award in Georgia.” Hayter-Menzies hopped on a plane and met with the 39th president of the United States, who wrote the foreword for the book.

“Of immediate concern to Lillian was the civil rights issue. If she was alive today she would be marching with a sign: ‘black lives matter,’” says Hayter-Menzies.

He says the Carter matriarch was ahead of her time and only held back from protesting by her protective son. “She grew up in a household of compassion whose motto for everything the family did was not to recognize the colour of people but to take them on their merits.”

Not one to sit on her heels, well into her 60s, Lillian Carter joined the Peace Corps, spending two years in India caring for the poor in the slums of Mumbai. “She knew it was impossible to do what she wanted to do for black people (in the U.S.) and not have rocks thrown through the window. She wanted to go where there were people of colour she could care for (without retribution),” says Hayter-Menzies.

Hayter-Menzies’ works include biographies of Charlotte Greenwood, Princess Der Ling, and Billie Burke Ziegfeld. Lillian Carter A Compassionate Life is available at amazon.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

Most Read