Friday, April 3, 2020
George Washington Carver was a black American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. Carver was born into slavery in Diamond Grove, near Crystal Place, possibly in 1864 or 1865, though the exact date is not known. His master, Moses Carver was a German American immigrant who had purchased George's parents, Mary and Giles, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, for $700. Carver had 10 sisters and a brother, which all died prematurely. Carver's is known for his research about alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. These crops also gave extra nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops 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 bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including paints, dyes, plastics, gasoline, nitroglycerin, and cosmetics. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingam Medal of the NAACP. During the Reconstruction-era South, because farmers only planted cotton, it 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 greatly. Carver's work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop. George Washington Carver discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Some of the things he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder, and wood stain.