Black History Month - George Washington Carver
The desire to learn can be a driving force. In the case of George Washington Carver, it was the pursuit of knowledge that helped him achieve greatness. Born as a slave around 1864, Carver died a prominent inventor, botanist and scientist. He spent much of his life researching and promoting alternative cash crops to cotton, such as sweet potatoes and peanuts, which helped many African-Americans who had a similar background improve their livelihood. All of these things make him the perfect person to celebrate during Black History Month.
Celebrating Groundbreaking Work During Black History Month
After the Civil War ended slavery in 1865, George Washington Carver was finally able to start his education. He attended numerous schools before earning a diploma in Kansas. Although he was initially accepted into Highland College, Carver was then denied due to his race. Carver spent some time conducting biological experiments instead, and soon after he started studying art at Simpson College in Iowa. It was obvious that he had a talent for botany, as his paintings often featured botanical themes, and Carver was encouraged to enroll in the botany program at Iowa State Agricultural College.
Carver excelled at Iowa State and continued his education in Ames, Iowa, to earn his masters. After graduating, Carver headed south to teach at the African-American Tuskegee Institute. Here he researched and taught various crop-rotation methods, and he began developing alternatives to cotton. Carver's favorite food to promote was the peanut, and he even invented different uses for this source of protein to get farmers on board with growing crops other than cotton.
Crop rotation and switching to the alternative crops Carver promoted allowed nitrogen to be restored to the soil, and it provided food for farmers. To encourage healthier eating among farmers in the South, Carver even developed recipes that included these new crops.
George Washington Carver's groundbreaking research and his warm, humble personality left him widely respected in both black and white communities. President Theodore Roosevelt even asked for his advice on agricultural issues in the United States. Today, Carver is still highly recognized for his work in agriculture and serves as a reminder of all you can accomplish through hard work and an education.