George Washington Carver: In Celebration of Black History Month!
George Washington Carver is best known for inventing the peanut…. KIDDING! He did however find over 100 uses for this plant, and made over 300 products with it. Most of us who know anything about this brilliant man know about his inventions and contributions to science and agriculture. But what many don’t know is how his life began and about his character as a person.
It’s amazing when you think about the circumstances in which he was born and then realize what he came to be. He was born to slave parents in 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri. He was born too small, and was sickly and frail most of his childhood. Because of this, he couldn’t work in the fields, so he did a lot of housework. But he took an interest in gardening. He quickly earned the nickname the plant doctor. He earned his high school diploma while working but was denied admission into Highland College when they found out he was black. He eventually attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was the first black to be offered a falcuty position at Iowa State Agricultural College.
He enjoyed his work in agriculture and botany in the university’s greenhouses until Booker T. Washington offered him a position in Tuskegee as the Director of Agriculture. During his time there, he perfected crop rotation. The cotton was depleting the soil of it’s nutrients, so struggling farmers followed Carver’s lead and began alternating cotton with plants like peas and peanuts each year. This fertilized the soil again and farmers were happy with the outcome their crops. There was a surplus of peanuts due to the lack of uses for them at the time and farmers became angry with Carver as the peanuts rotted away. Once again, he helped the farmers by coming up with MANY industrial uses for the peanuts. They weren’t angry anymore! Cha-Ching $$$ for the farmers! This is why he is credited with saving southern agriculture.
Other well known members of society like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were enthusiastic about his work. He declined a postion by Edison that would have paid him $100,000 a year (equivalent to about $1,000,000 today!)
Carver didn’t desire fortune and fame. He was a humble man and credited all his work to God saying things like, “God freely gave these ideas to me, I should do the same and freely give them to benefit mankind.” He only regestered 3 patents, out of HUNDREDS of inventions. Although he chose not acquire the amount of money that he could have easily obtained, he got exactly what he wanted in life. He wanted to be around the nature and plants that he loved since childhood and use them to give back to mankind. And we see that his desire and purpose was fulfilled.
Just a thought that I had researching Carver’s life: He grew up poor and weak. Nobody would have thought by looking at his circumstances that his life would have such significant meaning. God knew that him being frail as a child would give him the opportunity to exercise his intelligence. (Several sources even say that he taught himself to read). It just makes me realize that if I follow my PASSION and my CALLING that I can impact the world as well. I believe the same is true for us all, EVERYBODY. <3
Recognitions and rewards which George Washington Carver received for his inventions
* “One of world’s most significant scientists” – Franklin D Roosevelt.
*Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee, in his name.
*His birthplace was declared as a national monument in 1953.
*Multiple patents for his inventions (of course!)
*Widely recognized for his humility
*Honorary doctorate from Simpson College (1928)
*Honorary member of the Royal Society of Arts, England. In 1923, he
*Received the Spingarn Medal in 1923.
*Roosevelt medal for restoring southern agriculture (1939).
*National monument dedicated to Carver and Carver’s inventions (1943 July 14).
More articles about George Washington Carver:
Check out this informative video about George Washington Carver! His bio is AMAZING.