George Washington Carver

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Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Scientific Biographies
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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

Early Years

Young Adulthood

College Life

College Life (Cont.)

Tuskegee Institute

The search for knowledge would play a large role in George's life. As a young man, he left the Carver home to travel to a school for black children 10 miles away. It was at this point that the boy, who had always identified himself as "Carver's George" first came to be known as "George Carver." After some time and series of different schools, Carver graduated from Minneapolis High School, in Minneanapolis, Kansas

After graduating from Iowa State, Carver embarked on a career of teaching and research. Booker T. Washington, the principal of the African-American Tuskegee Institute, hired Carver to run the school's agricultural department in 1896. Tuskegee's agricultural department achieved national renown under Carver's leadership, with a curriculum and a faculty that he helped to shape. Areas of research and training included methods of crop rotation and the development of alternative cash crops for farmers in areas heavily planted with cotton.

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Diamond, Missouri, around 1864. The exact year and date of his birth are unknown. He was one of many children born to Mary and Giles, an enslaved couple owned by Moses Carver. The conclusion of the Civil War in 1865 brought the end of slavery in Missouri. Moses Carver and his wife, Susan, decided to keep George and his brother James at their home after that time, raising and educating the two boys. Susan Carver taught George to read and write, since no local school would accept black students at the time.

After being denied to go to Highland College, he studied science, and found an interest in the arts as well. In 1890, he began studying art and usic at Simpson College in Iowa, deveoping his artistic skill through drawings on Botanical samples. His obvious aptitude for drawing the natural world prompted a teacher to suggest that Carver enroll in the botany program at the Iowa State Agricultural College. Carver moved to Ames and began his botanical studies the following year as the first black student at Iowa State. Carver excelled in his studies. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Science degree, Carver's professors Joseph Budd and Louis Pammel persuaded him to stay on for a master's degree. His graduate studies included intensive work in plant pathology at the Iowa Experiment Station. In these years, Carver established his reputation as a brilliant botanist and began the work that he would pursue for the remainder of his career.

Carver moved to Ames and began his botanical studies the following year as the first black student at Iowa State. Carver excelled in his studies. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Science degree, Carver's professors Joseph Budd and Louis Pammel persuaded him to stay on for a master's degree. His graduate studies included intensive work in plant pathology at the Iowa Experiment Station. In these years, Carver established his reputation as a brilliant botanist and began the work that he would pursue for the remainder of his career.

Iventions

Carver tried many experiments on plants and new uses for them at Tuskegee. Many of these early experiments focused on the development of new uses for crops such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans. The hundreds of products he invented included plastics, paints, dyes and even a kind of gasoline. In 1920, Carver delivered a speech before the Peanut Growers Association, attesting to the wide potential of peanuts. The following year, he testified before Congress in support of a tariff on imported peanuts. With the help of Carver's testimony, the proponents of the tariff were able to institute it in 1922.

Bibliography:http://www.biography.com/people/george-washington-carver-9240299

Carver's prominence as a scientific expert made him one of the most famous African-Americans of his time, and one of the best-known African-American intellectuals up to that point. By the time of his testimony, however, Carver had already achieved international fame in political and professional circles. President Theodore Roosevelt admired his work and sought his advice on agricultural matters in the United States. Carver was also recognized abroad for his scientific expertise. In 1916, he was made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts—a rare honor for an American. Carver also advised Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on matters of agriculture and nutrition.


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