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Feb. 8, 2005

George Washington Carver

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor
George Washington Carver, agriculturist who introduced the peanut to farmers.
George Washington Carver, agriculturist who introduced the peanut to farmers.
George Washington Carver led an extraordinary life, ever since his childhood. Born to enslaved parents, Carver was kidnapped by Confederates but was returned to his home on a Missouri farm, allegedly in exchange for a racehorse. He was crippled by an illness that prevented him from working on the field, but Carver continued to spend his time examining crops even so. This began his interest in agriculture, the field where he later sought to further his education.

In 1896, Carver graduated from Iowa Agricultural College with a Master's degree in agriculture. Soon after, he became a faculty member of the Systematic Botany Department at his graduate college and worked in the school's bacterial laboratory. In 1897, upon Booker T. Washington's request, Carver joined the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, where he experimented with crop rotation and soil-enrichment techniques on a piece of land.

Carver tried to find a method that would allow a farmer to repair a field's soil while still producing a crop. Eventually, Carver became renowned for his work with peanuts, which could sustain soil health by adding nitrogen that would boost the cotton and the tobacco crops planted afterwards. When Carver introduced the peanut to local farmers, they were overjoyed with the discovery yet found no use for them. After further studies, Carver composed an extensive paper, "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption." Fields that were previously left fallow were then salvaged, allowing for healthier farmers, a greater harvest and economic improvement in rural areas.

In essence, Carver was a hero who found a way to improve the soil of farmers while they produced a "cash crop." He also brought the concept of "moveable schools" to the South, allowing him to spread the agricultural knowledge from his discovery. Carver died in 1943, but his legacy continued; over time, a film was produced in his name, and he was inducted into the "Hall of Fame for Great Americans" and the "National Inventors Hall of Fame."

Information has been compiled from Georgecarver.com, Iowa State University Library and Gardenforum.com.



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  • sara (View Email) on February 26, 2006 at 4:44 PM
    WHAT A HOTT guy! :-)
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