28th Dec 2013
Badass Scientist of the Week: George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver (1864–1943) was a botanist, an agricultural researcher and an educator. He was born on a small farm near Diamond Grove, Missouri, where his mother and brother were the only slaves of Moses and Susan Carver. When he was a baby, his mother was taken by Confederate night-raiders, and the Carvers raised the two boys as their own. George became interested in nature at a young age but schools were racially segregated—to get an education he was forced to leave home at twelve and work to support himself while studying. Racial barriers made applying to college a struggle too, but after four years he finally became the first black student at Simpson College, Iowa. Carver soon transferred to Iowa State College to study science, and he gained a Master’s in agriculture and bacterial botany in 1896. He was renowned within the school for his academic talent and his gift as a teacher. He then took up a position as head of agriculture at the all-black-staffed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. At the time, southern farming was devastated by years of civil war and the “loss” of slave labour, which was hurting the economy. Carver helped farmers recover: he recognised that years of growing cotton and tobacco had severely depleted the soil and so introduced “rotational” crops—alternating soil-depleting crops with soil-enriching crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes. To encourage farmers, he proceeded to invent hundreds of profitable applications of the crops, including adhesives, axel grease, biofuel, bleach, ink, metal polish, shaving cream, synthetic rubber and wood stain. Soon, his ingenuity led to speaking engagements, and by the 1920s he was on lecture tours of white colleges, opening students’ eyes to racial injustices and serving as a mentor to black students. He became a national folk hero, and after his death in 1943, President Roosevelt honoured Carver with a national monument. Carver never patented or profited from most of his profits—as his epitaph reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”

Badass Scientist of the Week: George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver (1864–1943) was a botanist, an agricultural researcher and an educator. He was born on a small farm near Diamond Grove, Missouri, where his mother and brother were the only slaves of Moses and Susan Carver. When he was a baby, his mother was taken by Confederate night-raiders, and the Carvers raised the two boys as their own. George became interested in nature at a young age but schools were racially segregated—to get an education he was forced to leave home at twelve and work to support himself while studying. Racial barriers made applying to college a struggle too, but after four years he finally became the first black student at Simpson College, Iowa. Carver soon transferred to Iowa State College to study science, and he gained a Master’s in agriculture and bacterial botany in 1896. He was renowned within the school for his academic talent and his gift as a teacher. He then took up a position as head of agriculture at the all-black-staffed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. At the time, southern farming was devastated by years of civil war and the “loss” of slave labour, which was hurting the economy. Carver helped farmers recover: he recognised that years of growing cotton and tobacco had severely depleted the soil and so introduced “rotational” crops—alternating soil-depleting crops with soil-enriching crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes. To encourage farmers, he proceeded to invent hundreds of profitable applications of the crops, including adhesives, axel grease, biofuel, bleach, ink, metal polish, shaving cream, synthetic rubber and wood stain. Soon, his ingenuity led to speaking engagements, and by the 1920s he was on lecture tours of white colleges, opening students’ eyes to racial injustices and serving as a mentor to black students. He became a national folk hero, and after his death in 1943, President Roosevelt honoured Carver with a national monument. Carver never patented or profited from most of his profits—as his epitaph reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”

This post has 2,322 notes
  1. thy-authourr reblogged this from sciencesoup
  2. sylcmyk reblogged this from datagarden
  3. poetryandcurls reblogged this from fuckyeahblackmen
  4. datagarden reblogged this from sciencesoup
  5. udaitaxim reblogged this from esinahs
  6. blaznpollypocket reblogged this from esinahs
  7. esinahs reblogged this from kidelemnt
  8. tieneangel reblogged this from diasporicroots
  9. hoioligoi reblogged this from dendroica
  10. all-time-gays reblogged this from sciencesoup
  11. africanculturalaspectsoflife reblogged this from diasporicroots
  12. dreamingdiametrically reblogged this from fuckyeahethnicmen
  13. cephetacean reblogged this from sciencesoup
  14. youngfortrees reblogged this from suzysuzysue
  15. suzysuzysue reblogged this from thehopefulbotanymajor
  16. mekavantraa reblogged this from sciencesoup
  17. darkenbeauty reblogged this from sciencesoup
  18. congo-dollhouse reblogged this from sciencesoup
  19. starstufflady reblogged this from com-pound
  20. gothicfionnacaliope reblogged this from sciencesoup
  21. writingrefss reblogged this from nybg
  22. kingnewearth reblogged this from sciencesoup
  23. participationtrophywife reblogged this from sciencesoup
  24. com-pound reblogged this from sciencesoup
  25. itsewonder reblogged this from sciencesoup
  26. ferriswheelsandthrowingknives reblogged this from azryal00
  27. barefootnightingale reblogged this from azryal00
  28. wanderingsoulessandfree reblogged this from azryal00
  29. magniloquentmurmurs reblogged this from azryal00