John Carter was a leading jazz clarinetist for more than 40 years. The fusion of Carter’s interest in African American history and jazz composition led to one of his greatest professional accomplishments, the five-album series Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, during the 1980s. The work “traces in musical form the intersection of preslavery African civilizations and Western cultures and their ensuing entwined history,” according to the Nation. Carter worked with jazz luminaries including Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, James Newton, Bobby Bradford, Red Callender, and Alvin Batiste.
From childhood in Fort Worth, Texas, where Carter was born on September 24, 1928, he shared a love of jazz with three contemporaries: saxophonist and jazz composer Omette Coleman, drummer Charles Moffett, and saxophonist Dewey Redman. Carter absorbed the pulsing gospel hymns at the local Baptist church and the classic pieces of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway, which his parents played on their home phonograph. He studied alto saxophone but had an immediate affinity for the clarinet when he started playing the instrument at age 12. He first performed Texas blues in Woodman’s Hall in Anacostia, a jazz center in Washington, D.C. Carter teamed with Coleman in the 1940s.
Following graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Lincoln University at the age of 19 and completion of a Master of Arts degree in music education from the University of Colorado, Carter was ready for a career in jazz performance. After marrying wife Gloria and beginning a family, a desire for security compelled him to teach music in the Fort Worth public school system, a position he held from 1949-61. Paralleling his classroom work, Carter experimented with the clarinet and found that it was the instrument he was best able to express himself on.
Resettled at an elementary school in Los Angeles, California, Carter taught music for 21 years in that city’s public school system. In 1964, he joined with musical pal Bobby Bradford, six years his junior, who joined him for clarinet-trumpet duos and a tour of the northeastern United States with their unique brand of Texas jazz. Simultaneously, Carter nurtured local progressive jazz artists at his own club, Rudolph’s. Driven by intellectual curiosity, he performed on flute and saxophone while refining a mastery of the clarinet, breaching customary artistic boundaries and matching up against Bradford’s solid musicality.
By 1965, Carter and Bradford established a quartet with bassist Tom Williamson and Bruz Freeman on drums, which they maintained until Carter’s death in 1991. Until 1970, the combo traveled as the New Arts Jazz Ensemble. As part of the Hat Art jazz series, they recorded five of Carter’s original works on Seeking, released in 1991, including “Karen on Monday,” “Sticks and Stones,” and “In the Vineyard.” During the late 1970s, Carter and Bradford toured Europe and joined pianist Horace Tapscott in recordings. The two played a concert at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) featuring the Art Ensemble of Chicago, an alliance recorded as Tandem 1, a musical version of call-and-response sermon style, in 1979. Carter broke free for a virtuoso rendition of “Les Masses Jigaboo,” an arcing harmonic riff with improvisations and abrupt transitions that challenged his horn. He joined the James Newton woodwind quintet in 1980, and a year later, Carter began performing with Alvin Batiste, Jimmy Hamilton, and David Murray in the Clarinet Summit quartet, a multi-generational, multi-sytlistic foursome recording on the Black Saint and India Navigation labels.
When Carter’s daughter and three sons reached maturity in the early 1980s, he gave up the classroom for full-time jazz clarinet, establishing the Wind College in Los Angeles. On his own record label, he recorded with Bradford and Newton such classics as Night Fire, comprised of “Morning Bell,” “Juba Stomp,” and “Buckin.”’ For Dance of the Love Ghosts, Carter teamed brass, synthesizer, kete drum, and dawuro drum to perform “The Captain’s Dilemma,” “Moon Waltz,” and the title song, all original works. Carter summarized his vision of jazz in a five-part suite recorded as Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, consisting of five individual discs released in installments during the
Born John Wallace Carter on September 24, 1928, in Fort Worth, TX; died on March 31, 1991. Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in music education, Lincoln University, Jefferson, MO, 1949; Master of Arts degree in music education, University of Colorado, 1956.
Played with Ornette Coleman, 1940s; taught music in the Fort Wort, TX, public school system, 1949-61, and the Los Angeles, CA, public school system, 1961-82; established a traveling combo later known as the New Arts Jazz Ensemble with partner Bobby Bradford, 1965; opened Rudolph’s, a jazz club nurturing new talent, in Los Angeles, 1960s; headlined recordings on Flying Dutchman, Moers Music, and Revelations labels, 1960s-1970s; formed Clarinet Summit, 1981; left teaching for full-time jazz composition and performance, founded the Wind College, 1980s; completed five-part jazz master-work, Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, 1989; work reprised by Francois Houle ’s album, In the Vernacular—Music of John Carter, 1998.
Awards: Down Beat magazine’s Hall of Fame, 1991.
1980s—Dauwhe, Castles of Ghana, Dance of the Love Ghosts, Fields, and Shadows on a Wall.
Critical response to Carter’s work focused on his lyricism, rich texture, fluidity, and free melodic expression. Comparisons to jazz master Wynton Marsalis placed Carter above the jazz talent in beauty, spontaneity, and range. Jazz tuba player Red Callender, who joined Carter, Bradford, and Newton to record Dauwhe, praised Carter’s command of his instrument in Rough Guides, “I had never heard anybody with such control on the clarinet…. His complete mastery of the instrument is astounding.” His virtuoso vocal and horn work in Castles of Ghana brought favorable comparisons to Marsalis. Individual pieces blending clarinet, trumpet, violin, cornet, trombone, drums, and acoustic bass carried evocative titles: “Evening Prayer,” “Conversations,” “The Fallen Prince,” and “Theme of Desperation.” In 1996, for “Sippi Strut,” “Spats,” “Hymn to Freedom,” and “And I Saw Them” in Shadows on a Wall, Carter earned four stars from Q magazine and five from the NAPRA Trade Journal. Of the final recording, David Grogan, reviewing for People magazine, called Carter an “avant-garde composer with a passion for history” and dubbed him “the Alex Haley of the Jazz world.”
Carter influenced the styles of his pupils Julius Hemp-hill and Peter Epstein, as well as contemporaries Newton, Murray, and Bradford. His work inspired numerous tributes, including a ferocious, yet lyric recording of “Sticks and Stones” and “Karen on Monday” by jazz clarinetist Francois Houle on the album In the Vernacular—Music of John Carter, released in 1998.
One of the first clarinetists to express a humanistic Pan-African vision in jazz, Carter improvised at the extremes of personal emotion, yet controlled his probes through precise, impressionistic melody. His tonal research led him through the enslavement of African Americans and their resulting poverty in the plantation South to their flight to the North in search of independence through factory labor. Passionate, intellectual, and focused on his music, Carter influenced an era of clarinet players. Carter died suddenly of complications from the removal of a non-malignant lung tumor on March 31, 1991.
Flight For Four, Flying Dutchman, 1969.
Seeking, Hat Art, 1969; reissued, 1991.
John Carter, Flying Dutchman, 1969.
Self-Determination Music, Flying Dutchman, 1970.
Secrets, Revelation, 1972.
Echoes From Rudolph’s, Ibedon, 1977.
Suite of Early American Folkpieces for Solo Clarinet, Black Saint, 1979.
Night Fire, Black Saint, 1979.
Dauwhe, Black Saint, 1982.
Castles of Ghana, Gramavision, 1985.
Dance of the Love Ghosts, Gramavision, 1986.
Fields, Gramavision, 1988.
Comin’On, Hat Art, 1988.
Shadows on a Wall, Gramavision, 1989.
West Coast Hot, Novus, 1991.
Suite of Early American Folkpieces (re-release), Moers Music, 1994.
Variations, Moers Music, 1994.
Tandem 1, Emanem, 1996.
Message to Venus, Orchard, 1999.
Downtown Blues, Breeze, 1999.
USA Concerts West, Robidrol/Newtone, 2000.
Cook, Richard, and Brian Morton, editors, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, Penguin Books, 1998.
Kernfeld, Barry, editor, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan, 1988.
Unterberger, Richie, The Rough Guide to Music USA, Rough Guides Ltd., 1999.
Audio, March 1990.
Austin Chronicle, April 12, 1991.
Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 1983.
Down Beat, November 1982; April 1985; August 1985; March 1990; June 1991; September 1991; November 1982.
High Fidelity, July 1986.
Jazz Times, May 2000.
Los Angeles Times, September 5, 1990, April 14, 1991.
NAPRA Trade Journal, Spring 1996.
Nation, October 21, 1991.
New York Times, January 3, 1988; February 5, 1988; April 2, 1991.
People, April 9, 1990.
Wire, October 1990.
“In the Vernacular—The Music of John Carter,” http://www.allaboutjazz.com/REVIEWS/R1198_11.HTM (September 26, 2001).
“John Carter,” http://www.agoron.com/~msnyder/clarinet/carter.htm (September 26, 2001).
“John Carter” Rough Guides biography at Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com (September 26, 2001).
—Mary Ellen Snodgrass
Carter, John 1927-
Carter, John 1927-
Born November 26, 1927, in Center Ridge, AR; brother of Conlan Carter (an actor).
Flight surgeon, Marooned (also known as Space Travelers), Columbia, 1969.
Middleton, The Thousand Plane Raid, United Artists, 1969.
Farmer, Monte Walsh, National General Pictures, 1970.
Military police captain Morton, The Andromeda Strain, Universal, 1971.
Judge, Joe Kidd, Universal, 1972.
Rich man, Badlands, Warner Bros., 1973.
Senator Stockwell, The Doll Squad (also known as Female Mercenaries and Seduce and Destroy), Geneni Film Distributors, 1973.
Stroller, Telefon, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1977.
Vic Phillips, Scarface, Universal, 1983.
General, My Science Project, Buena Vista, 1985.
Mr. Cooper, Worth Winning, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1989.
Richard Curtis, The Runnin' Kind, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1989.
Bernie, Savage Hearts, Starlight, 1997.
Father Gladden, Celebrity (also known as Woody Allen Fall Project 1997, Celebridades, Celebrity—kuuluisuus, Celebrity—schoen, reich, beruhmt, Diasimotites, Kaendisliv, and Sztarral szemben), Miramax, 1998.
Peyton's father, Random Hearts, Columbia, 1999.
Thomas Hatch, Swimming on the Moon, Tilted Window Filmworks, 1999.
Harold McGraw, The Hoax, Miramax, 2006.
Television Appearances; Series:
Sergeant Ray Martin (Chad's partner), The Smith Family, ABC, 1971-72.
Lieutenant John Biddle, Barnaby Jones, CBS, 1973-80.
Max Hartman, Falcon Crest (also known as The Vintage Years), CBS, 1984-86.
Woodruff Greenlee, All My Children (also known as All My Children: The Summer of Seduction and La force du destin), ABC, 1999, 2002, 2003.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Benjamin McCullum, Dynasty (also known as James A. Michener's "Dynasty" and The Americans), NBC, 1976.
Roots: The Next Generations (also known as Racines 2, Raices: Las siguientes generaciones, and Roots—Die naechsten Generationen), ABC, 1979.
Colonel William Forrest, The Winds of War, ABC, 1983.
Green, A Death in California (also known as Psychopath), ABC, 1985.
The Secrets of Lake Success, NBC, 1993.
"The Way West," The American Experience, PBS, 1995.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Captain Walker, Night Chase (also known as L.A. Cab and The Man in the Back Seat), CBS, 1970.
Jack, Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case, NBC, 1975.
Leonard Fields, Winner Take All (also known as Time Lock), NBC, 1975.
Murchison, If It's a Man, Hang Up, ABC, 1975.
Thomas, Little Lord Fauntleroy, CBS, 1980.
Mr. MacGregor, Our Family Business, ABC, 1981.
Baker (foreman), Shakedown on Sunset Strip, CBS, 1988.
Chief Dave Powers, Police Story: Gladiator School, ABC, 1988.
Judge Whelan, Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, the Last Chapter (also known as A Passion for Innocence, Till Murder Do Us Part II, and AWoman Deceived), CBS, 1992.
Love Can Be Murder (also known as Kindred Spirits), NBC, 1992.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Mr. Trimble, "My Dear Uncle Sherlock," ABC Weekend Specials, ABC, 1977.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Doyle, "Ladies from St. Louis," Gunsmoke (also known as Gun Law and Marshal Dillon), CBS, 1967.
Floyd Vaughn, "Showdown in Limbo," The Big Valley, ABC, 1967.
Major, "Nightmare on the Red Ball Barn," Combat!, ABC, 1967.
The man, "Black Market," Garrison's Gorillas, ABC, 1967.
Owens, "Moonshot," The Invaders, ABC, 1967.
Waiter, "Saturday," Coronet Blue, CBS, 1967.
Carter, "Fool's Gold," Cimarron Strip, CBS, 1968.
Private Markum, "War Games," Garrison's Gorillas, ABC, 1968.
Wayne Purcell, "The Survivors," Bonanza (also known as Ponderosa), NBC, 1968.
Hank Stevens, "Shell Game," The Mod Squad, ABC, 1969.
Tom Whalen, "Once upon a Time: Parts 1 & 2," Hawaii Five-O (also known as McGarrett), CBS, 1969.
"The Lady Doctor," Death Valley Days (also known as Call of the West, The Pioneers, Trails West, and Western Star Theater), syndicated, 1969.
Don King, "A Team of One-Legged Acrobats," Bracken's World, NBC, 1970.
Inspector John Bonner, "Return to Power," The F.B.I., ABC, 1970.
Johnson, "A Chance at the Roses," Mannix, CBS, 1970.
Chris, "Glass Cage," The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (also known as The Bold Ones), NBC, 1971.
Council member Morley, "You Can't Fight City Hall," Family Affair, CBS, 1971.
(Uncredited) Officer, "Ernie Drives," My Three Sons, CBS, 1971.
"Welcome to Our City," The Mod Squad, ABC, 1971.
Phillip Wheeler, "Time to Kill," Banyon, NBC, 1972.
Bernie, "Seance," Emergency! (also known as Emergency One and Emergencia), NBC, 1973.
Burt Thomas, "A Game of Showdown," Ironside (also known as The Raymond Burr Show), NBC, 1973.
Egerton, "Memo from a Dead Man," Cannon, CBS, 1973.
Father Walsh, "Shadler," Gunsmoke (also known as Gun Law and Marshal Dillon), CBS, 1973.
George Enright, "The Murdering Class," Barnaby Jones, CBS, 1973.
Alec Morris, "Profit and Loss: Profit," The Rockford Files (also known as Jim Rockford, Jim Rockford, Private Investigator, and Rockford), NBC, 1974.
Charlie, "Red Snow, White Death," Kodiak, ABC, 1974.
Porter, "The Lost Man," The F.B.I., ABC, 1974.
Sam, "Little Boy Lost," Shazam!, CBS, 1974.
"Daisy's Pick Blind Date," Emergency! (also known as Emergency One and Emergencia), NBC, 1974.
John Wirl, "The Saturday Night Special," The Rookies, ABC, 1975.
Walt Cutlett, "The Venture," The Waltons, CBS, 1975.
Mr. Bill Shelby, "The Cloudburst," The Waltons, CBS, 1976.
Sara, CBS, 1976.
Ted McGinnis, "Blizzard," Little House on the Prairie (also known as Little House: A New Beginning), NBC, 1977.
Walter Tobin, "The Secret of the Whispering Walls," The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (also known as The Hardy Boys and The Nancy Drew Mysteries), ABC, 1977.
Dr. Davidson, "Babies," Lou Grant, CBS, 1978.
Judge Murphy, "Sect," Lou Grant, CBS, 1978.
Dr. Bunning, "Charlatan," Lou Grant, CBS, 1979.
Congressional representative Harold Chapel, "Seldom Silent, Never Heard," Quincy M.E. (also known as Quincy), NBC, 1981.
Deputy Walt Hendrix, "The Hot Rod," The Waltons, CBS, 1981.
Deputy Walt Hendrix, "The Victims," The Waltons, CBS, 1981.
Sam Bludman, "Where's the Corpus," Enos, CBS, 1981.
"Framed by Fire," Code Red, ABC, 1981.
"Highway Robbery," Freebie and the Bean, CBS, 1981.
"Horse Cops," Enos, CBS, 1981.
"Hurricane," Flamingo Road, NBC, 1981.
Carl Hardesty, "The Ewing Touch," Dallas (also known as Oil), CBS, 1982.
Dr. Osgood, "The Plea," Dynasty, ABC, 1982.
Gunther Larson, "Immigrants," Lou Grant, CBS, 1982.
Mr. McLowe, "Bail and Bond," The Fall Guy, ABC, 1982.
Bishop, "Secrets," Hotel (also known as Arthur Hailey's "Hotel"), ABC, 1983.
Gordon Standish, "Magic Bus," Scarecrow and Mrs. King, CBS, 1983.
Jim Bailey, "The Skeleton Who Came out of the Closet," Simon & Simon, CBS, 1983.
Sheila's father, "Children of Jamestown," The A Team, NBC, 1983.
Carstairs, "The Network," Whiz Kids, CBS, 1984.
Dr. Wells, "Message in a Bottle," Knots Landing, CBS, 1984.
Marvin Emerson, "Final Chapters," Hotel (also known as Arthur Hailey's "Hotel"), ABC, 1984.
Nolan Ashley, "Whatever Happened to Guts?," Hardcastle and McCormick, ABC, 1984.
Parker and fake Hannibal Smith, "Showdown!," The A Team, NBC, 1984.
Paul Danton, "Really Neat Cars and Guys with a Sense of Humor," Hardcastle and McCormick, ABC, 1984.
"A Nation Divided," Call to Glory (also known as Air Force), ABC, 1984.
Carl Hardesty, "The Brothers Ewing," Dallas (also known as Oil), CBS, 1985.
Carl Hardesty, "Sins of the Father," Dallas (also known as Oil), CBS, 1985.
Senator Rhodes, "The Heist," MacGyver, ABC, 1985.
Jacob Edwards, "Family Reunion," The A Team, NBC, 1986.
Jason Hardiman, "The Stripper," Matlock, NBC, 1986.
Colonel Wayne, "The Cadet," Mr. Belvedere, ABC, 1987.
Jason McDaniels, "The First Time Is Forever," Stingray, NBC, 1987.
"Suitable for Framing," Scarecrow and Mrs. King, CBS, 1987.
Captain James McBride, "The Fourth Man," Hunter, NBC, 1988.
"There's One Born Every Minute," Houston Knights, CBS, 1988.
Rhodes Tarleton, "Absence of Chalice," A Fine Romance (also known as Ticket to Ride), CBS, 1989.
"Till Death Do Us Part," Hardball, NBC, 1989.
Dr. John Petit, "Blood, Sweat and Fears," L.A. Law, NBC, 1990.
"The Hunt for Honus Wagner," Hardball, NBC, 1990.
Assistant district attorney Howard Wright, "The Trial: Parts 1 & 2," Matlock, NBC, 1991.
Judge Humphrey, "I Do, Baby," Dear John (also known as Dear John: USA, Divorciados, John Ha-Yakar, Mein Lieber John, and Querido John), NBC, 1991.
Judge Spencer Martin, "Battle Fatigue," The Trials of Rosie O'Neill, CBS, 1991.
Judge Harlan Newfield, "Progeny," Law & Order (also known as Law & Order Prime), NBC, 1995.
Judge Harlan Newfield, "Savages," Law & Order (also known as Law & Order Prime), NBC, 1995.
Judge Harlan Newfield, "Loco Parentis," Law & Order (also known as Law & Order Prime), NBC, 2000.
Chuck, "The Self-Importance of Being Carlos," Third Watch, NBC, 2001.
Judge Harlan Newfield, "Deep Vote," Law & Order (also known as Law & Order Prime), NBC, 2001.
John Emerson, "Memory Lane," Ed (also known as Stuckeyville), NBC, 2002.
Appeared as Banker Hodges in Palmerstown, U.S.A. (also known as Kings of the Hill and Palmerstown), CBS; some sources cite an appearance as Judge Connolly in Law & Order (also known as Law & Order Prime), NBC.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Hazlitt, Earth II, ABC, 1971.
Elliott Kirby, Street Hawk, ABC, 1985.
Hal Burton, Chameleons, NBC, 1989.
Television Director; Episodic:
"A Short Happy Life," Barnaby Jones, CBS, 1979.
"Run to Death," Barnaby Jones, CBS, 1980.
Air lock foreman, Sandhog (musical), Phoenix Theatre, New York City, 1954-55.
Knight Escavalon, The Lovers, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1956.
Scythians, Persians, and Egyptians, Tamburlaine the Great, Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, Stratford, Ontario, Canada and Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, both 1956.
Singer and understudies for the roles of Andy and Max's assistant, Goldilocks (musical), Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York City, 1958-59.
Townsperson and understudy for the role of Arthur Miller, Take Me Along (musical), Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1959-60.
David Jordan and Mike Robinson, No Strings (musical), 54th Street Theatre, New York City, 1962, and Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1962-63.
Hendon, Finding the Sun (one-act), produced as part of Sand, Signature Theatre, New York City, 1994.
Performer, "Old," Fragments, Signature Theatre, New York City, 1994.
Harry, A Delicate Balance, Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1996.
The best friend, All Over, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ, and Roundabout Theatre Company, Gramercy Theatre, New York City, both 2002.
Doctor and street person, A Streetcar Named Desire, Studio 54, New York City, 2005.
Grandfather, Festen, Music Box Theatre, New York City, 2006.
Appeared in other productions, including Funny Girl (musical), Broadway production.
(In archive footage) Woodruff Greenlee, Daytime's Greatest Weddings, Buena Vista Home Video, 2004.
Eraser—Turnabout, Imagination Pilots Entertainment, 1996.
January 27, 1919
The politician and diplomat John Patrick Carter was born in the village of Cane Grove, British Guiana. He received his secondary education at Queen's College from 1931 to 1938, after qualifying at the Government County scholarship examination that determined who would be eligible to attend that elite school. Carter's political awakening occurred in the 1920s when his mother took him to meetings of the Negro Progress Convention (NPC), a group that aimed to uplift black people, whom NPC leaders felt were oppressed like crabs in a barrel. As a student in London, where he studied law and qualified as a barrister with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1942, Carter's experience with the "English landlady" who refused to rent rooms to nonwhite students sensitized him to racial injustices in England and was the most significant reason he became involved in political activity. During his sojourn in England, Carter also joined the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP), whose membership at the time included all races, especially whites, as well as students from the colonies of Britain, all of whom were fighting for racial integration in Britain. Eventually, the aims of the LCP expanded to include self-government for the colonies.
Upon returning to British Guiana, Carter entered politics, became a member of the colony's Labour Party, and was elected to the Legislative Council in 1947, after Hubert Critchlow, the original winner of the constituency in question, was unseated as a result of a libel suit brought against him by the wife of a prominent attorney, whom Critchlow had accused of mistreating a black employee. In any event, Carter pursued a labor line as a politician, and although he and later People's Party Progressive (PPP) leader Cheddi Jagan supported each other initially, in the Legislative Council their paths eventually diverged as Jagan's more radical politics began to obtrude.
Carter also became assistant secretary of the LCP in Guiana, which at the time was seeking not merely to sensitize African Guianese regarding the issue of political independence but was also concerned with promoting their social, economic, educational, and political interests. Indeed, one manifestation of this concern occurred in January 1953, when along with other LCP leaders Carter protested against the appointment of a Guianese Royal Air Force Officer, who had served in World War II and had later qualified as a barrister, as a sergeant-major in the police force. This incident, which clearly involved a gross injustice as the disjuncture between academic qualifications and the occupational status of the job was one that was clearly based on race, was taken up with the attorney general, as a result of which the individual in question was seconded to the attorney general's office.
Also with fellow LCP leaders, Carter was involved in the formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP)—subsequently becoming an executive member of the party—which contested the 1953 general elections, the first to be held under universal adult suffrage, and which was won by the PPP. After the PPP ministers were dismissed, the constitution was suspended in October 1953, and a struggle for the leadership of the party ensued between Cheddi Jagan, the party leader, and Forbes Burnham, the chairman. Carter, who reportedly had heard the news of the suspension "with a heavy heart," traveled to England with a delegation of prominent political figures to consult with Colonial Office officials and to express the group's disenchantment with the PPP. While there, British officials suggested that although they were sympathetic to the delegation, it was in the latter's interest to organize politically to present a stronger opposition to the PPP and thereby enhance the prospects of democracy in Guiana. Perhaps with that in mind, and because Carter felt that he had more in common with the more moderate Burnham than with Jagan, and since the NDP and the People's National Congress (PNC), which came into being in 1958 with Burnham as its leader, were not too far apart on the issues, the two parties merged.
As a diplomat from 1966 to 1970, Carter was accredited to the United States as Guyana's first ambassador to that country, with additional accreditation to Canada and the United Nations; from 1970 to 1976, he was accredited to Great Britain as Guyana's high commissioner, with additional accreditation to France, West Germany, Netherlands, Austria, the Soviet Union, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and India; from 1976 to 1981 he was accredited to the People's Republic of China as Guyana's ambassador, with additional accreditation to Japan and North Korea; and finally from 1981 to 1983 he was accredited to Jamaica as Guyana's ambassador. For his services to the Guyana government, Carter was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth.
See also Burnham, Forbes
Seeraj, Sandra. "Sir John and Lady Sara Carter: A Story of Sterling Accomplishment, Distinguished Service and Enduring Love." Guyana Chronicle (November 21, 2004).
St. Pierre, Maurice. Anatomy of Resistance: Anti-Colonialism in Guyana, 1823–1966. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999.
maurice st. pierre (2005)