Black History Snippet--George Washington Carver

Black History Profile:

George Washington Carver (1860's – January 5, 1943)

--born into slavery, but kidnapped a week after his birth, so his actual birth date is unknown; only George was recovered by the Carver family

--after slavery ended, the Carver family taught him to read and write--because no school would accept black students

--as a teenager he traveled to a school 10 miles away to learn with other black students

--he had a cordial relationship with the Carver's daughter, but for fear they would sleep together, they made him a eunuch--removing his genitals; this caused the high pitch voice he'd have for the rest of his life

--calling himself Carver's George because he still believed himself to be their property, he met a young woman by the name of Mariah Watkins who taught him the 'George' was more important than the 'Carver'

--after high school, he applied to several colleges and one accepted him, then rejected him once they discovered he was black

--founded his own homestead and used the land for a small conservatory of plants, plowing all 17 acres manually

--was 27 years old when he was finally allowed in college and was the first black student ever allowed at Iowa State Agricultural College, focusing on botany

--earning respect as a botanist, Carver went to the Tuskegee Institute, where he taught for 47 years--educating black students in crop rotation,alternative cash crops, improving the soil of areas heavily cultivated in cotton, initiated research into crop products (chemurgy), farming techniques for self-sufficiency

--it is widely believed that Carver created peanut butter--he did not; he did, however, create 300 different peanut uses (including peanut oil which was said to help with polio) along with hundreds of different uses for soybeans, pecans, sweet potatoes

--he only patented 3 of his inventions (out of around 500), believing that his inventions were a gift from God and deserved to be shared, not hoarded for money--even turning down a job with Edison (for 100k/year) because Edison sought profit

--had it not been for Carver and his farming techniques, the resurgence of the South would have been all but impossible

--"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."

--George Washington Carver

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