George Washington Carver, about 1910
George Washington Carver, about 1910

Quill_and_ink.pngGeorge Washington Carver from State Historical Society of Missouri

Link also to a biography from the Chemical Heritage Foundation

Link to George Washington Carver: The Black History Monthiest of Them All, NPR Code Switch

Life Summary

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in 1864.
  • He was kidnapped along with his sister and mother from the Carver farm when he was only a few weeks old. They were sold at auction in Kentucky, but a Carver family friend found George and returned him to the Carver farm.

After the Civil War, the Carver family adopted and educated George and his brother. After graduating from high school, he was accepted into Highland College in Kansas. The college rescinded his acceptance when they learned he was black.
  • He ended up attending Iowa State Agricultural College, where he was the first black student. He received a bachelor and masters degree in botany.
    • After graduation, he was hired by Booker T. Washington to teach at Tuskegee.
Signature of George Washington Carver, 1934
Signature of George Washington Carver, 1934

At Tuskegee, he did research on crop rotation and alternative cash crops. These methods helped the struggling African American sharecroppers.

Carver also did a lot of research on peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans.
  • Carver also researched plastics, paints, dyes, and a special kind of gasoline.
    • He proposed that Congress create a tariff on imported peanuts, which they did. Carver spent a lot of time raising awareness for agriculture, racial equality, and the achievements of Tuskegee.

Postage Stamp, 1947
Postage Stamp, 1947

primary_sources.PNGPrimary Sources

George Washington Carver Image Set, Library of Congress

Tuskegee Institute Image Set

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Carver's Legacy as the Peanut Man

Carver is credited with inventing about 300 products from peanuts

16 Surprising Facts

Crop Rotation and the Peanut

George Washington Carver Cared About Sustainable Farming Before It Was Cool

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 12.30.24 PM.pngLesson Plans

Scientist, Inventor and Teacher, PBS Learning Media

His Story Through Letters and Photographs,

rotating gif.gifLink to page on Global Seed Bank and Global Food Histories