George Washington Carver : biography
George Washington Carver (by January 1864The Notable Names Database cites July 12, 1864, as Carver’s birthday . – January 5, 1943), was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864.
Carver’s reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts.Carver, George Washington. 1916. , Tuskegee Institute Experimental Station Bulletin 31. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP.
During the Reconstruction-era South, monoculture of cotton depleted the soil in many areas. In the early 20th century, the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop, and planters and farm workers suffered. Carver’s work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop.
He was recognized for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo".
George Washington Carver believed he could have faith both in God and science and integrated them into his life. He testified on many occasions that his faith in Jesus was the only mechanism by which he could effectively pursue and perform the art of science. from The New American (January 2004) via TheFreeLibrary.com George Washington Carver became a Christian when he was ten years old. When he was still a young boy, he was not expected to live past his twenty-first birthday due to failing health. He lived well past the age of twenty-one, and his belief deepened as a result. Throughout his career, he always found friendship with other Christians. He relied on them especially when criticized by the scientific community and media regarding his research methodology.http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/n/Newman,Wilson_L. (dead link)
Carver viewed faith in Jesus as a means of destroying both barriers of racial disharmony and social stratification. from a National Park Service website (dead link) He was as concerned with his students’ character development as he was with their intellectual development. He compiled a list of eight cardinal virtues for his students to strive toward:
- Be clean both inside and out.
- Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
- Lose, if need be, without squealing.
- Win without bragging.
- Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
- Be too brave to lie.
- Be too generous to cheat.
- Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.
Beginning in 1906 at Tuskegee, Carver led a Bible class on Sundays for several students at their request. He regularly portrayed stories by acting them out. He responded to critics with this: "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."
Christian book series for children and adults about great men and women of faith feature George Washington Carver as a figure of faith and achievement. One such series, the Sower series, includes his story alongside those of such men as Isaac Newton, Samuel Morse, Johannes Kepler, and the Wright brothers. Other Christian literary references include Man’s Slave, God’s Scientist, by David R. Collins. Sam Wellman’s Heroes of the Faith series includes George Washington Carver: Inventor and Naturalist.
Life while famous
During the last two decades of his life, Carver seemed to enjoy his celebrity status. He was often to be found on the road promoting Tuskegee, peanuts, and racial harmony. Although he only published six agricultural bulletins after 1922, he published articles in peanut industry journals and wrote a syndicated newspaper column, "Professor Carver’s Advice". Business leaders came to seek his help, and he often responded with free advice. Three American presidents—Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt—met with him, and the Crown Prince of Sweden studied with him for three weeks. From 1923 to 1933, Carver toured white Southern colleges for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.