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A biography of george washington carver an african american scientist

During the American Civil Warthe Carver farm was raided, and infant George and his mother were kidnapped and taken to Arkansas to be sold. Moses Carver was eventually able to track down young George but was unable to find Mary.

With the complete abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865, George was no longer a slave. Nevertheless, he remained on the Carver plantation until he was about 10 or 12 years old, when he left to acquire an education. He spent some time wandering about, working with his hands and developing his keen interest in plants and animals.

He learned to draw, and later in life he devoted considerable time to painting flowers, plants, and landscapes.

George Washington Carver

By both books and experience, George acquired a fragmentary education while doing whatever work came to hand in order to subsist. He supported himself by varied occupations that included general household worker, hotel cook, laundryman, a biography of george washington carver an african american scientist labourer, and homesteader.

In his late 20s he managed to obtain a high school education in MinneapolisKansaswhile working as a farmhand. Carver left Iowa for Alabama in the fall of 1896 to direct the newly organized department of agriculture at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institutea school headed by noted African American educator Booker T. At Tuskegee, Washington was trying to improve the lot of African Americans through education and the acquisition of useful skills rather than through political agitation; he stressed conciliation, compromise, and economic development as the paths for black advancement in American society.

Despite many offers elsewhere, Carver would remain at Tuskegee for the rest of his life. He conducted experiments in soil management and crop production and directed an experimental farm. At this time agriculture in the Deep South was in steep decline because the unremitting single-crop cultivation of cotton had left the soil of many fields exhausted and worthless, and erosion had then taken its toll on areas that could no longer sustain any plant cover.

As a remedy, Carver urged Southern farmers to plant peanuts Arachis hypogaea and soybeans Glycine max. As members of the legume family Fabaceaethese plants could restore nitrogen to the soil while also providing the protein so badly needed in the diet of many Southerners. In response to this problem, Carver set about enlarging the commercial possibilities of the peanut and sweet potato through a long and ingenious program of laboratory research.

He ultimately developed 300 derivative products from peanuts—among them milk, flourinkdyesplasticswood stains, soaplinoleummedicinal oils, and cosmetics —and 118 from sweet potatoes, including flour, vinegarmolassesink, a synthetic rubberand postage stamp glue. Library of Congress, Washington D.

Much exhausted land was renewed, and the South became a major new supplier of agricultural products. When Carver arrived at Tuskegee in 1896, the peanut had not even been recognized as a crop, but within the next half century it became one of the six leading crops throughout the United States and, in the South, the second cash crop after cotton by 1940. In 1942 the U.

Late in his career he declined an invitation to work for Thomas A. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt visited him, and his friends included Henry Ford and Mohandas K. Foreign governments requested his counsel on agricultural matters: Joseph Stalinfor example, in 1931 invited him to superintend cotton plantations in southern Russia and to make a tour of the Soviet Unionbut Carver refused.

African-American Pioneers in Science

In 1940 Carver donated his life savings to the establishment of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee for continuing research in agriculture. During World War II he worked to replace the textile dyes formerly imported from Europe, and in all he produced dyes of 500 different shades. Department of Agriculture Many scientists thought of Carver more as a concoctionist than as a contributor to scientific knowledge.

Many of his fellow African Americans were critical of what they regarded as his subservience. Certainly, this small, mild, soft-spoken, innately modest man, eccentric in dress and mannerism, seemed unbelievably heedless of the conventional pleasures and rewards of this life.

But these qualities endeared Carver to many whites, who were almost invariably charmed by his humble demeanour and his quiet work in self-imposed segregation at Tuskegee. As a result of his accommodation to the mores of the South, whites came to regard him with a sort of patronizing adulation. Carver thus, for much of white America, increasingly came to stand as a kind of saintly and comfortable symbol of the intellectual achievements of African Americans.

Carver was evidently uninterested in the role his image played in the racial politics of the time. His great desire in later life was simply to serve humanity, and his work, which began for the sake of the poorest of the black sharecroppers, paved the way for a better life for the entire South. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: