Who Was George Washington Carver?


George Carver was born in 1864 in Diamond, Missouri, US. He was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He is best known for being the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century. Below is all you need to know about George Washington Carver’s Biography.

George Washington Carver

George Carver was a famous agricultural black scientist and inventor who helped develop many soybeans, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. He was born into slavery a year before it was outlawed, after which he left home at a young age to further his education and earn a master’s degree from Iowa State University. 

Goerge Washington Carver home
Photo by Matthew A. LynnMERA

Carver planned to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for years. Even though he spent years developing several products made from peanuts, none were commercially successful. He was also a leader in promoting environmentalism and received numerous awards for his work.

His Early Life

George Washington Carver was born into a life of slavery in Diamond, Newton County, Missouri, near Crystal Place, before abolishing slavery in Missouri, which occurred in January 1865, during the American Civil War. His date of birth was not known to him. 

Moses Carver, a German American immigrant and a farm owner, bought George’s mother, Mary, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, when she was 13. George was a week old when he was kidnapped, along with his sister, by night raiders from Arkansas. 

Moses Carver hired someone to get them back, but they only succeeded in finding George, whom they bought by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. He was raised by Moses Carver and his wife Susan and taught how to read and write. He started going to the farm and was soon known as a plant doctor to several local farmers.

His Education

At age 11, George left the farm to attend an all-Black school in a nearby town in Neosho, where he was taken in by Andrew and Mariah Watkins, a childless African American couple. Two years later, he moved to Kansas, leaving his education in Neosho behind. 

Surviving from the domestic skills he learned while moving from one foster home to another, he put himself through school and later graduated from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis. In 1894, Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

Tuskegee Institute

Washington persuaded its trustees to establish an agriculture school, which Carver could only head if Tuskegee retained its all-Black faculty. Carver accepted the invitation and would spend his life at Tuskegee Institute.

As a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver devised strategies to repair soils depleted by repeated cotton crops. He wanted poor farmers to cultivate alternative crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes to supplement their income and improve their quality of life.

George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow staff members at the Tuskegee Institute (now known as Tuskegee University) located in the U.S. state of Alabama. Photo credit: Wikepedia

His Relationship

George never got married. His courtship with Sarah L. Hunt, an elementary school teacher and the sister-in-law of Warren Logan, Treasurer of Tuskegee Institute, only lasted for three years. News had it that he was bisexual and constrained by mores of his historical period.

His Inventions and Fame

  • George Carver taught the farmers to enrich their croplands with swamp muck instead of fertilizers. His idea of crop rotation was of great value to several farmers.
  • His most significant success came from peanuts. He developed many industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including paper, cooking oils, punches, salad oil, soaps, cosmetics, wood stains, and massage oils that treated him with infantile paralysis.
  • Many facts and images were created by George Washington Carver for kids, which was a source of education for them.
  • In 1916, George was made a member of the Royal Society of Arts in England, one of the few Americans to receive this honor.
  • George discovered Permaculture used to generate carbon from the atmosphere, producing many crops. Premature is still used in President Biden’s reign.
  • He later established a legacy by creating a museum of his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue research on Agriculture.
George Washington Carver at work in his laboratory

His Death

On January 5, 1943, George Carver died at the age of 79 from anemia resulting from a fall down a flight of stairs. He was 78 years old and was buried on the Tuskegee Institute grounds.

List of Products made from the Peanut
By Dr. George Washington Carver

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