Celebrating Black History Month with the father of organic agricultural science

George Washington Carver

Black Leonardo (…)

The greatest Negro scientist alive”

TIME magazine [1]

“The greatest scientist alive”.

An artist, a scientist, a botanist, a geologist, a poet, an educator, and a humanitarian, this is a lot for one man.

George Washington Carver as a young boy
  • People who believed in his potential;
  • Role models that gave him his sense of purpose.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom”.

Georges Washington Carver

George Washington Carver’s painting

“Diversity is having a seat at the table; inclusion is having a voice and belonging is having that voice be heard”.

Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

Mrs. Sophia Liston (right) and Family
George Washington Carver at Iowa State College
Booker T Washington

“You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people”

Mariah Watkins

Mrs. Mariah Watkins
Black Cotton Farming family in 1890s
  • Over-reliance on cotton, the region’s main crop
  • Decades of sharecropping system leading to poor, eroded soils
  • Simple tools, and outdated techniques

“Whenever the soil is rich, the people flourish, physically and economically. Whenever the soil is wasted, the people are wasted.”

George Washington Carver

  • crop rotation to improve cotton yield and give farmers alternative cash crops.
  • that, what others would merely regard as weeds, could be edible plants
  • acorns and wines could become food for their animals.
  • wild fruits could be canned and preserved.
  • fertilizer could be created from waste.
  • the value of planting soil restoring crops such as sweet potatoes, peanuts, soy beans, cowpeas and even published recipes to use them.

“My work was the one of conservation”

has said Carver in the late 1930’s while looking back at his career.

A master of science communication

Carver was not only a passionate scientist, he was also a great teacher and knew how to communicate his research findings so that everybody whatever their background could understand him.

The Jessop wagon
Franklin D. Roosevelt greeting George Washington Carver in 1936

Conclusion

George Washington Carver has been reproached not to have been an activist, not to have fought enough white racism, to have just lived around it.

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