World History

George Washington Carver | Biography, Education, Early Life & Facts

Where did George Grow up?

George was born in 1864 on a small farm in Diamond, Missouri. His mother Mary was a slave owned by Moses and Susan Carver. One night a slave robber came and stole the engravers George and Mary. Moses Carver went looking for them, but he only found George by the roadside.

George was raised in the Carver family. Slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, and the Carver family had no children of their own. They took care of George and his younger brother James as if they were their own children and taught them to read and write.

When George was a kid, he loved learning about things. He was particularly interested in animals and plants. He also liked reading the Bible.

George Washington Carver Overview:

Occupation Scientist and educator
Awards Spingarn Medal
Born January 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri
Died January 5, 1943 in Tuskegee, Alabama
Best known for Discovering many ways to use the peanut

Biography of George Washington Carver:

Going to School

George wanted to go to school and learn more. However, there were no schools for black children near where he lived, so he could have attended there. George traveled to the Midwest to attend school. Eventually, he graduated from high school in Minneapolis, Kansas.

George liked science and art. At first he thought he might want to be an artist. He took art classes at Simpson College in Iowa, where he had a lot of fun painting plants. One of his teachers suggested that he combine his love of science, art and plants with his studies and become a botanist.

A botanist is a scientist who studies plants. George entered Iowa to study botany. He was the first African-American student at Iowa State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by his Master’s degree. George became known as an expert in botany through his studies done at his school.

Professor Carver

After earning his master’s degree, George began teaching at Iowa State University as a professor. He became the university’s first African-American professor. However, in 1896 George was contacted by Booker T. Washington. Booker founded an all-black college in Tuskegee, Alabama. He wanted George to teach at his own school. George agreed and moved to Tuskegee as head of the agricultural department. He will teach there for the rest of his life.

Crop Rotation

One of the staple crops in the South was cotton. However, growing cotton for many years depletes the soil of nutrients. Ultimately, cotton yields will stagnate. Carver taught his students crop rotation. For one year he grew cotton, then other crops such as sweet potatoes and soybeans.

Carver’s research and education into crop rotation helped the farmers of the south be more successful. It also helped to diversify the products that they produced.

The Peanut

Carver’s research and training in crop rotation made Southern farmers richer. He also helped us diversify the products we manufacture. peanuts

Another problem for farmers was weevils. This insect will eat the cotton and ruin the crop. Carver found that parrot weevil doesn’t like peanuts. However, farmers were not very sure that they could make a good living from peanuts. Carver began developing products that could be made from peanuts. He introduced hundreds of new peanut products, including cooking oils, clothing dyes, plastics, motor fuel, and peanut butter.

In addition to researching peanuts, Carver invented products that could be made from other important crops such as soybeans and sweet potatoes. Making these crops more profitable allows farmers to rotate their crops and get more profit from their land.

An Expert on Agriculture

Carver has become known worldwide as an agricultural expert. He advised President Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Congress on agricultural issues. He also worked with Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi to help grow crops in India.

Legacy

George Washington Carver was known throughout the South as the “farmer’s best friend”. His commitment to crop rotation and innovative products has helped many farmers survive and earn a prosperous livelihood. His interests were science and helping others, not getting rich.

Most of his own work was not even patented because he considered his ideas a gift from God. He felt they should be free for others. George died after falling down the stairs of his home on January 5, 1943. Congress then established January 5 as George Washington Carver Day in his honor.

Interesting Facts about George Washington Carver

Growing up, George was known as Carver’s George. His name was George Carver when he entered school. He then added a “W” in the middle and told a friend that this stood for Washington.

At the time, Southerners called peanuts “goobar.”

Carver sometimes took classes to farms, teaching farmers directly what they could do to improve their crops.

His later nickname was “Wizard of Tuskegee”.

He wrote a booklet entitled Help in Difficult Times telling farmers what they could do to improve their crops.

It takes over 500 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.