Biography of George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, a revolutionary American agricultural chemist, agronomist, and experimenter, was born into slavery in Missouri in 1861. He sought to uplift Black farmers by developing new products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, which helped transform the agricultural economy of the South after the Civil War. Carver spent most of his career teaching and conducting research at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama.  Well, in this case, I’ll be discussing George Washington Carver. Continue to read so you can learn more about the biography of George Washington Carver.

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Early Life

George Washington Carver was likely born in 1864 in Diamond, Missouri, during the Civil War. His exact birth date is unknown. He was one of many children born to Mary and Giles, who were enslaved by Moses Carver. After his father’s death, George was kidnapped as an infant but later found and returned to Missouri. After the Civil War, he was raised by Moses and Susan Carver. George described himself as a sickly child and helped with domestic chores instead of farm work.

College Education

Carver faced rejection from Highland University due to his race, leading him to homestead in Ness County, Kansas. He cultivated plants and worked odd jobs to support himself. Carver later obtained a loan for education and began studying art and piano at Simpson College. His talent for painting flowers and plants led to encouragement to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College, where he became the first black student. He completed his Bachelor’s thesis on “Plants as Modified by Man” in 1894 and was convinced to pursue a master’s degree at Iowa State University.

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Tuskegee Institute Teacher

Carver, the director of agricultural research in 1896, focused on research to help Southern agriculture by improving soil management and crop production. Carver discovered that Alabama’s soil was ideal for growing peanuts and sweet potatoes. When farmers faced low demand for these crops, he conducted extensive laboratory research to develop over 300 peanut products and 118 sweet potato products, including milk, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, cosmetics, vinegar, molasses, synthetic rubber, and postage stamp glue.

Risk of fame

Carver’s work at Tuskegee Institute’s agricultural department focused on groundbreaking research in plant biology, particularly in developing new uses for crops such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and pecans. With cotton production declining in the South and fields exhausted from overproduction of a single crop, Carver suggested planting peanuts and soybeans to restore nitrogen to the soil, along with sweet potatoes. His inventions and research helped struggling sharecroppers in the South find stability.

Life while famous

In the last two decades of his life, Carver enjoyed his celebrity status, promoting Tuskegee University, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and racial harmony. Despite only publishing six agricultural bulletins after 1922, he wrote articles in peanut industry journals, a syndicated newspaper column, and provided free advice to business leaders. He also met with three American presidents and taught the Crown Prince of Sweden for three weeks. From 1923 to 1933, he toured white Southern colleges for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.

Relationship

Carver spoke about racial harmony in the US and toured Southern colleges from 1923 to 1933. He stayed outside of politics and didn’t criticize social norms directly. His approach contrasted with more radical activists, but his work improved the lives of farming families and made him an icon for both Black and white Americans. The scientist developed friendships with notable figures like Henry Ford, who was drawn to Carver’s work with soybeans and peanuts.

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Death

Carver died on January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 or 79 due to complications from a fall. He was found unconscious after falling down a flight of stairs and was taken to the hospital by a maid. His death occurred while he was sitting up in bed, painting a Christmas card with the message “Peace on earth and goodwill to all men.” He was buried next to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee University.

How did George Washington Carver change the world?

George Washington Carver’s work started to help poor Black sharecroppers, but it ultimately improved the lives of the entire South by freeing it from its harmful reliance on cotton. His work also advanced agricultural training during a time when farming was the main occupation in America.

Well, that’s it for this article, where we discussed the biography of George Washington Carver. I hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading.

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