George Washington Carver

Birthplace: near Diamond Grove, MO
Education: Iowa State College

After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was African American, George Washington Carver attended Simpson College before transferring to Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University), from which he earned a B.S. degree in agricultural science, and an M.S. degree in 1896. Carver's fame is closely associated with Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute), of which he became the director of agricultural research in 1896, and where he remained until his death in 1943. Carver revolutionized southern agriculture by introducing peanut, soybean, and sweet potato production to replenish nitrogen in the soil, which had been largely depleted by cotton growth. When southern farmers grew peanuts and soybeans and found a limited market for them, Carver set to work developing commercial applications for them, creating more than 300 peanut-based products, including milk, cheese, flour, ink, dyes, wood stains, soap, and cosmetics. In addition, he developed 118 sweet potato-based products, including vinegar, molasses, rubber, ink, and postage stamp glue. Shortly before his death in 1940, Carver donated his entire savings to Tuskegee to found the Carver Research Foundation for research in agriculture.

Related Resources

Web Resources
George Washington Carver Jr.
Biographical information and a photographic portrait.

George Washington Carver National Monument
Read about the facilities, and field trip opportunities.

Black History Month  Return to the Encyclopedia
of Prominent African Americans


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