March 04, 2024

February is Black History Month

Celebrating Carver’s ag contributions

DIAMOND, Mo. — Black History Month is an important time to remember the agricultural contributions of the African American community — such as those of George Washington Carver.

Carver’s nicknames included “plant doctor” and “peanut man.” He was an agricultural scientist: a chemist, researcher, scholar, teacher and innovator.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope”

—  George Washington Carver, agricultural scientist

His work laid the foundation for America’s ag industry to thrive today.

10 Things You Should Know About Carver

1. Carver was born a slave on a farm in Missouri in 1865. He later became the first black student and faculty member at Iowa State University. He then moved to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to serve as the school’s director of agriculture.

2. His research helped black farmers become more self-sufficient and less reliant on cotton. He is known for his research of peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes.

3. Carver developed his crop rotation method at Tuskegee Institute. He alternated nitrate-producing legumes such as peanuts and corn with cotton.

4. His innovations helped the South’s economic survival in the early 1900s.

5. Carver developed more than 300 products from peanuts, including plastics, synthetic rubber and paper.

6. Carver invented a process for producing paints and stains from soybeans.

7. He worked to replace textile dyes formally imported from Europe during World War II.

8. He was appointed a collaborator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Mycology and Disease Survey of the Bureau of Plant Industry.

9. He designed a classroom on wheels called the Jessup Wagon. He used it to share information with poor, rural farmers to help their farms be more successful.

10. Carver experimented with peanut-based medicines, such as antiseptics, laxatives and goiter medications.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor