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George Washington Carver


Highlights of his life

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* In 1935, he was specially appointed to the Department of Agriculture by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to address the southern farming crisis. He advised farmers to use crop rotation. Since peanuts and sweet potato crops have nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots, these plants restore nitrogen levels in the soil, which helps other plants like cotton to grow better.

* This program was instrumental in James Earl Carter Sr. increasing his farm production of peanuts.("An Hour Before Daylight", page 25, by Pres. James Earl Carter Jr.) The crop rotation method was huge success, but then it posed another serious problem. There were no buyers for peanuts and sweet potatoes, as people did not know any other use of it except to eat it raw or boiled. Dr. Carver worked day and night to make various products from peanuts & sweet potato. Some of the marketable products made from peanuts were peanut butter, shampoo, milk, cheese, mayonnaise, instant coffee, flour, soap, plastics and pickles. The products made from sweet potato include vinegar, flour, starch, molasses and ink. During his lifetime he developed 325 products from peanuts, 108 products from sweet potatoes, 75 applications of pecans, 118 industrial products from agricultural products and over 500 dyes from the plants, which was incredible. His experiments soon gave him recognition as "the peanut man.

" He did not profit from his discoveries; he gave them to mankind. He was never interested in the profit or commercial use of his products. He would say. "God gave them to me. How can I sell them to someone else?" He strongly believed that the inventor no longer remains an inventor if he starts seeking commercial gratification.

*George Washington Carver received the Spingarn Medal in 1923, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was bestowed an honorary doctorate from Simpson College in 1928. He was made an honorary member of the Royal Society of Arts in London , England .

*In 1939 he was awarded the Roosevelt medal for restoring southern agriculture. Though famous, he was subjected to racism quite frequently. However, he took it silently without becoming bitter, as he did not want to divert himself from the goal of helping people. He also donated his life savings to the Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1940.

Dr. Carver died on Jan. 5th, 1943. On July 14, 1943 U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt honored him with a ‘National Monument’ in his hometown of Diamond Grove , MO. , dedicated to his accomplishments.

"It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success."

Carver said so and followed it throughout his life. During the 79th Congress, Public Law 290 was passed to designate January 5, of each year, George Washington Carver Recognition Day. In signing this Joint Resolution on December 28, 1945, President Harry S. Truman said, "I do hereby call upon officials of the Government to have the flag at half staff on all government buildings on January 5, 1946 in commemoration of the achievements of George Washington Carver."


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