Jimmy Carter Historic Sites in His Georgia Hometown Upgraded to National Park

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Virginia Chamlee
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Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty; Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Former President Jimmy Carter's boyhood farm, a historic site in Plains, Georgia. Inset: Carter.

A collection of historic sites in Plains, Georgia, associated with Jimmy Carter, America's oldest living former president, are now officially a national park after a Historical Park Redesignation Act was signed into law on Wednesday.

The Jimmy Carter National Historical Park Redesignation Act, introduced by Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop and outgoing Georgia Sen. David Perdue, upgrades the federal status of the sites, which include the farm on which Carter grew up; the high school he and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, attended; his presidential campaign headquarters; and the couple's current home and future gravesites.

The designation will allow the sites to be preserved and restored by the National Park System, so that they can continue to reflect their significance in American history, even well into the future.

President Donald Trump signed the act into law.

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In a December statement released after the Senate passed the bill, Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and Perdue (both of whom recently lost their reelection bids in a pair of runoff races) said that the act would protect the historic sites and draw more visitors to the area.

"Only in America could the son of a small-town peanut farmer become President of the United States," Perdue said, adding that the designation "will ensure Plains, Georgia continues to be a living monument to the Carters and their lifetime of service."

Loeffler echoed those comments, saying "a national park named for this native son of Georgia is a tribute that will endure for years to come."

President Carter thanked the Georgia delegation for sponsoring and passing the bill.

"No matter where life has taken me, from the Governor's mansion to the White House, Plains has always been my home," he said in December. "Rosalynn joins me in thanking Senator Perdue, Congressman Bishop, and the Georgia delegation for helping preserve my family's legacy."

RELATED: The Night Jimmy Carter Knew He'd Wed Rosalynn, Their Marriage's Lowest Moment & Their Love Now

Carter Center/Twitter Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in July 2020

The ex-president, 96, has focused heavily on humanitarian work since leaving the the White House in 1980, when he lost his own reelection bid to Ronald Reagan.

In 1982, he founded the Atlanta-based Carter Center, an organization focusing on the alleviation of human suffering, and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

He and Mrs. Carter have also for decades been deeply involved in charitable causes such as Habitat for Humanity, and he has continued to teach Sunday school at Plains' Maranatha Baptist Church, though the Carters have been spending time at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The couple speaks out periodically on politics, still: They recorded a video in support of Joe Biden for the Democratic National Convention in August and released a statement via the Carter Center in the wake of last week's attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

Urging the rioters to "disband immediately," the statement referred to Trump's attempts to overthrow the election results as "historically unprecedented and damaging."

"This has put significant strain on our democratic system and created ill-founded doubt among millions of Americans about the integrity of the elections," the statement read. "As we have done throughout our history, it is now time to support a peaceful transition and work together toward a prosperous and shared future."