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Charlotte Talks: 'Crisis of Confidence' Speech Reimagined In Charlotte Play

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018

Nearly four decades after President Carter's "crisis of confidence" speech, a unique play being performed in Charlotte reimagines the infamous speech. Mike Collins talks with the play's author and director, as well as an expert on that era of the Carter presidency.

Turmoil in the country. A “loss of a unity of purpose.” A “fundamental threat to American democracy.”

While that could easily describe the current political climate, it’s actually how President Carter described the state of the country in his July 1979 “crisis of confidence” address as America wrestled with an energy crisis, as well as the lingering bitterness of the Vietnam War and Watergate.

"The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and political fabric of America," Carter said.

The speech was well-received at the time, but in the years since it has been tagged as the "malaise" speech - even though the word is never uttered during the 33-minute talk.

Playwright Susan Lambert Hatem reimagines that time in the country's history in her new play, Confidence (and The Speech). 

Credit Medium.com / Susan Lambert Hatem


Susan Lambert Hatem, playwright, Confidence (and The Speech)

Anne Lambert, director, Confidence (and The Speech)

Kevin Mattson, professor of contemporary history, Ohio University; author of 'What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?' Jimmy Carter, America's 'Malaise,' and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country


Thu., Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sept. 14 and Sat., Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square. More information here.