Frances Tunnell was a kindergarten teacher in Mississippi when World War II began. Wanting to help, she moved in with relatives in Birmingham and helped build B-24 "Liberator" and B-29 "Superfortress" bombers at the Betchel-McCone-Parsons Airplane Modification Plant at the Birmingham Municipal Airport. After the war, she married paratrooper John Carter.
The couple both pursued doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1955 and remained active in the Civil Air Patrol. She worked as an airborne searcher and later as Public Affairs Officer and Director of Information and as Director of Aerospace Education for the Alabama Wing, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. The Carters returned to Birmingham in 1956, both teaching at Howard College.
In 1977, Carter was named Birmingham Woman of the Year, and Birmingham Volunteer of the Year in 1980. Both she and John have served as directors of the English Classes for Internationals program at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, and, she, with her husband, founded the International Book Project at Samford in 1987.
In 1998 Carter founded the American Rosie the Riveter Association, which now claims over 2,200 members across the county. In 2001 she was inducted into the Alabama Seniors Hall of Fame. She and John were jointly given the Hoover Chamber of Commerce's annual "Freedom Award" in 2006.
- Isom, Lanier Scott (November 2006) "Frances Carter: Founder of the American Rosie the Riveter Association." Portico.