George Washington Carver

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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver George Washington Carver was an African American botanist and inventor who lived during and after the civil war era. His thirst for knowledge put him on his trail to his academic career of working at the Tuskegee Institute as head of the agricultural department. Many of his inventions were brilliant, and are still used to this day. It is because of his perseverance to learn, his numerous great inventions, and his spectacular mustache that we remember George Washington Carver. George Washington Carver was born on a plantation into slavery either in 1861 or 1864, but the exact date of his birth or year is not known. George had many brothers and sisters, but most of them died prematurely. When he was only a week old, he was kidnapped by raiders from Arkansas, along with his mother and his sister. The plantation owner, Moses Carver, hired a man to track them down, but he only found baby George. After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife raised George and his older brother James. Carter’s wife, Susan, taught the boys to read and write, which only fueled George’s thirst for knowledge. There were only schools for white children in the area, but there was a black school ten miles away, so George decided to go. When George arrived, he discovered the school had closed, so he spent the night in a barn. His desire for knowledge took him to another city to attend an academy, but after seeing a black man get killed by a group of whites, he left the city. Eventually after applying to multiple colleges, he got accepted to Highland College, but was rejected because of the colour of his skin. After being rejected from Highland, George got a small homestead claim where he maintained a conservatory for crops. After attending Simpson College in 1888 for a short time to study piano and art, he was encouraged to go to Iowa State Agricultural College by his teacher, who recognized George’s talent with drawing and painting plants. George was the first black student at the agricultural college. After earning his Bachelors and his Masters degree, George stayed at the Iowa Experiment Station, where he gained national recognition for his work as a botanist, and became the first black faculty member. He would later go on to be a professor at another college for years, inventing new and visionary ways to farm and deal with crops. In 1896, Booker T. Washington, the first principal and president of the Tuskegee Institute, invited George to be the head of the agricultural department. George accepted and taught there for 47 years, innovating the agricultural department and teaching generations of students how to farm self-sustainably. While there, he created many inventions, including a mobile classroom he called the Jesup Wagon which he used to educate farmers. During his tenure as a professor, George was always at odds with the principal of the school, and over the course of his years, threatened his resignation multiple times. In 1911 George complained that he had not received supplies for his work that had been promised by Booker T. Washington, but despite their arguing and disagreements, Mr. Washington still praised him in his memoir as one of the most scientific African-Americans he had ever known. After Booker T. Washington died in 1915, George focused mainly on experimenting with crops such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, and gained national recognition by speaking at a national conference of Peanut Growers Association, as well as giving a testimony in front of Congress about the passing of taxes on the import of peanuts. He became one of the most well-known African-Americans of his time in these years, and throughout his lifetime, George won many awards, as well as having museums dedicated in his name. During course of his life, George Washington Carver was consulted by three presidents and taught the Crown Prince of Sweden for a short time. Carver was also credited with the rise of peanut production in the U.S. after the boll weevil devastation and during his later years when he achieved celebrity status, George became friends with Henry Ford, who helped George when his health started to decline by putting an elevator into George’s dormatory apartment. He was famous all around the country for teaching farmers how to grow crops efficiently, mentoring generations of young people, and finding innovative new inventions based off common crops. George Washington Carver died when he was 78 on January 5th, 1943 as a result of complications due to a fall down stairs he took while returning home one day. He was buried next to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee University. In his last year of life, George donated his savings, $60,000, to a fund that was used to pay for agriculture at the university, and to the Carver Museum. He is remembered as one of the smartest and inventive scientists that America had ever known, having had Museums and funds donated in his name, as well as the numerous honors and awards that he had received. George came up with over 300 uses for peanuts, and hundreds more for sweet potatoes, soybeans, and many other crops. Today, he is widely credited for the invention of peanut butter (even though it showed up in previous cultures). George Washington Carver was one of the greatest scientists and botanists the world has ever seen, and he will be remembered for his numerous contributions to modern day society, as well as his perseverance to learn against staggering adversity and racism.


c.1864-Birth1891-Carver becomes the first black student at Iowa State 1896-Invited to Tuskegee1915-Booker T. Washington dies1943-Death

George created many inventions during his long lifetime, including a mobile classroom. He also came up with over 300 uses for peanuts and hundreds more for sweet potatoes, soy beans, and other crops.

Lasting Impact

George Washington Carver changed the world, and to this day, some of his inventions are still used, and he is widely known for overcoming racism as well as for being an ingenious botanist.


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George Washington Carver



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