American educator and an outstanding innovator in the agricultural sciences.
Carver was born of slave parents near Diamond, Missouri. He left the farm where
he was born when he was about ten years old and eventually settled in
Minneapolis, Kansas, where he worked his way through high school. Following his
graduation in 1894 from Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now
Iowa State University), Carver joined the college faculty and continued his
studies, specializing in bacteriological laboratory work in systematic botany.
In 1896 he became director of the Department of Agricultural Research at
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), where he
began an exhaustive series of experiments with peanuts. Carver developed several
hundred industrial uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans and developed
a new type of cotton known as Carver’s hybrid. His discoveries induced southern
farmers to raise other crops in addition to cotton. He also taught methods of
soil improvement. In recognition of his accomplishments, Carver was awarded the
Spingarn Medal in 1923 by the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People. In 1935 he was appointed collaborator in the Division of Plant
Mycology and Disease Survey of the Bureau of Plant Industry of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. In 1940 he donated all his savings to the
establishment of the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee for
research in natural science. Carver died at Tuskegee, on January 5, 1943. His
birthplace was established as the George Washington Carver National Monument in