George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver photo

                George Washington Carver was born on January 5, 1864 and died on January 5, 1943.  George Washington Carver devoted his life to research projects connected primarily with Southern agriculture.

                Born a slave on January 5, 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri, Carver was only an infant when he and his mother were abducted from his owner's plantation by a band of slave raiders. His mother was sold and shipped away, but Carver was traded by his master in exchange for a race horse.

                The products he derived from the peanut and the soybean revolutionized the economy of the South by liberating it from an excessive dependence on cotton. Carver was invited by Booker T. Washington to serve on the faculty at Tuskegee Institute (now called Tuskegee University). Carver revolutionized the southern agricultural economy by showing that 300 products could be derived from the peanut.  By 1938, peanuts had become a $200 million industry and a chief product of Alabama. Carver also demonstrated that 100 different products could be derived from the sweet potato.

                In 1938 he donated over $30,000 of his life's savings to the George Washington Carver Foundation and willed the rest of his estate to the organization so his work might be carried on after his death. He died on January 5, 1943.

Source: The African American Almanac, 7th ed., Gale, 1997.

by Michael Washington