BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT:
George Washington Carver was an inventor, educator and scientist whose experimentation with crops and their uses revolutionized American farming. Carver earned a bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1894 and a Masters degree in agriculture in 1897. Later that year he was recruited by Tuskegee Institute's Booker T. Washington to serve as that school's Director of Agriculture.
While working at Tuskegee -- where he worked for 47 years -- Carver developed his crop-rotation method, which prevents soil from becoming so depleted of minerals that it can no longer produce crops. Carver went on to develop more than 325 different uses for the peanut-crop surplus, including printers' ink, cooking oil, dye, fuel, and cosmetics.
Carver also developed uses for the sweet potato and the pecan, including turning them into synthetic rubber and material for paving highways. During his time at Tuskegee, Carver was also in charge of a mobile school, called a "Jessup wagon," that brought his techniques to Southern farmers. He was also in charge of administering Tuskegee's Experiment Station farms.
- In 1923, Carver was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for outstanding achievement. From 1923 to 1933, he toured white Southern colleges for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
- Carver died January 5th , 1943, at age 78. In his will, he requested that his life savings be used to form a research institute at Tuskegee upon his death. His birthplace was honored as a national monument in 1953.