He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.
Carver was born into slavery in Newton County, Missouri. The date of his birth is uncertain and was not known to Carver; but it was before slavery was abolished in Missouri, which occurred in January 1865, during the American Civil War.
After slavery ended, Moses Carver and his wife, Susan, raised George and his older brother, James, as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits, and “Aunt Susan” taught him the basics of reading and writing.
In 1890, Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. His art teacher, recognized that Carver had a talent for painting flowers and plants; she encouraged him to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in Ames 1891. He was the first black student to study there. He earned his degree in Agriculture at Iowa State in 1896. He taught as the first black faculty member at Iowa State.
In 1896, Booker T. Washington, the first principal and president of the Tuskegee Institute invited Carver to head its Agriculture Department. He taught there for 47 years, developing the department into a strong research center and working with two additional college presidents during his tenure.
He taught southern farmers how to rotate soil-depleting crops like cotton with other crops that were more soil-enriching, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life.
The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. Although he spent years developing and promoting numerous products made from peanuts, none became commercially successful.
Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in promoting environmentalism.
In an era of high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community.
Carver died January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 from complications resulting from a fall down a flight of stairs near his home.
He was buried next to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee University.
Due to his frugality, Carver’s life savings totaled $60,000, all of which he donated in his last years and at his death to the Carver Museum and to the George Washington Carver Foundation.
https://ideapublicschools.org/our-schools/idea-carver/ A charter school in San Antonio, Texas, Carver Academy was founded in 2001 by David Robinson, former NBA basketball player with the San Antonio Spurs
https://carverhs.bcps.org George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, also known just as the Carver Center for Arts and Technology is a Baltimore County-wide public magnet high school established in 1992.
Guide to the George Washington Carver Letter to Dana H. Johnson. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California
Resources for those who are gardening hobbyists and Carver’s farming advances inspires you:
Building a greenhouse in Phoenix https://tnc.network/building-a-greenhouse-in-phoenix/
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes https://happydiyhome.com/how-to-grow-sweet-potatoes/
The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Garden https://tnc.network/the-ultimate-guide-to-starting-your-own-garden/
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.