By: Linda Lewis
One of the great things about living in Missouri is learning about its history and its figures of history. One of my Missouri heroes is George Washington Carver. He was a scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown. He is believed to have been born into slavery in Diamond Grove, Missouri in January 1864.
“Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”
As an agricultural chemist, Carver discovered over three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were his recipes and improvements for: adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain.
Carver collaborated with Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes and in 1897 Carver went to serve as the school’s Director of Agriculture. Carver remained on the faculty until his death in 1943.
In 2005, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri, opened a George Washington Carver garden in his honor, which includes a life-size statue of him.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because, someday in life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service located about two miles west of Diamond, Missouri; the national monument was founded on July 14, 1943, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt who dedicated $30,000 US to the monument. It was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American and first to a non-President.
“When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way you’ll command the attention of the world.” George Washington Carver