ANDERSONVILLE — Former President Jimmy Carter visited Andersonville Thursday for a book-signing attended by more than 1,000 people, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
A line from inside the Swedish American Museum spanned a block north of the museum and stretched around a corner as hundreds of people waited to meet the former president and get his signature on his latest book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power."
Andersonville bookstore Women & Children First organized the event at the museum, 5211 N. Clark St.
In "A Call to Action," Carter addresses discrimination and violence against women across the world, covers the impact of "distorted religious texts on women" and urges change.
Jackson also had a brief visit with Carter. Their encounter was more intimate than that of the rest of Carter's fans, as the two hugged and spoke for a few moments before Carter signed a book for the civil rights activist.
Women & Children First was the only bookstore in the city featuring a book-signing Carter, according to museum director Karin Abercrombie, who called the event "a great success."
"The overwhelming support from not only the neighborhood but around Chicago to be here for the event was great," said Abercrombie.
Carter, a Democrat from Georgia, was president from 1977-1981, when he was succeeded by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican from California.
He has spent much of his post-White House years as a mediator of conflicts across the globe and an international human rights activist who heads the Carter Center, a human rights organization. Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his peacemaking work abroad.
Uptown resident Nicholas Markos didn't get a hug like Jackson did, but he was all smiles walking away from the former president after getting his signature. He said he's a fan of Carter's presidency, but that "his post-presidency obviously is exemplary."
Markos said Carter's book tackles "an important issue," and that the treatment of women is a problem both abroad and in the U.S.
"The treatment of women, I think, in the U.S. is pretty good compared to a lot of other places, so I think what happens is we don't necessarily realize how poor the treatment of women is," said the 41-year-old writer.
About one in three women in the world suffers sexual violence at some point in her life, according to the World Health Organization, which also reports that about 125 million women and girls alive today have been subject to genital mutilation in the Middle East and Africa. Women across the world also suffer discrimination that limits their educational opportunities, social mobility and ability to fight mistreatment by men.
It's not a problem that leaves the U.S. or the rest of Western society unscathed, said Carter, who recently wrote a letter to the pope challenging the status of women in the Catholic Church.
He told NBC News: "When [people] see the pope, the Southern Baptist Convention, and others say that women can’t serve as priests equally with men, they say well, I’ll treat my wife the way I want to because she’s inferior to me."