Black History Month: Black Inventor And Botanist George Washington Carver

Introducing a scientist that once was called 'Black Leonardo' by Time magazine - George Washington Carver

Born into slavery in the mid 1860s, George Washington Carver became an accomplished scientist and inventor, best known for creating hundreds of products from peanuts and sweet potatoes.

Shortly after the Civil War, bushwhackers from the Democrat South kidnapped infant George with his mother and sister. Moses Carver sent friends to track down the thieves and trade his best horse to retrieve them. The thieves only left baby George, lying on the ground, sick with the whooping cough, an illness which permanently effected his physical constitution.

George never saw his mother and sister again. Illness claimed the lives of his two other sisters and they were buried on the Carver farm.


George Washington Carver decided to leave home to attend school in Neosho, Missouri. He paid his own tuition by doing odd jobs. In the intervening years, George Carver drifted from Missouri, to Kansas, to Iowa, working as a cook and doing laundry.

Carver did just that and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the college in 1894 and 1896, respectively.

After graduating, Carver was hired by Booker T. Washington, principal of the African-American Tuskegee Institute, to run the school’s agricultural department. His work there brought him national and international recognition.

Carver’s reputation is largely based on his promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts.


In an era of very high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community. He was widely recognized and praised in the white community for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo”.

George Washington Carver died on Jan. 5, 1943, at age 78.

We need to remember that black people left a massive mark on American History. Sadly people seem to forget it, George Washington Carver is not teached in schools. It’s an attempt to simplify our history, and we can’t let it happen!

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