(10x10, Oil on Canvas) on loan during Black History Month, Joanna Reid, Artist
George Washington Carver (c. 1864 to January 5, 1943) was born into slavery and went on to become a botanist and one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time as well as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. Carver devised over 100 products using one major crop — the peanut — including dyes, plastics and gasoline.
Born a slave, George was raised by his masters and educated by them at a young age after the end of the Civil war in 1865.
Accepted to Highland College in Highland, Kansas, Carver was denied admittance once college administrators learned of his race. Instead of attending classes, he homesteaded a claim, where he conducted biological experiments and compiled a geological collection.
While interested in science, Carver was also interested in the arts. In 1890, he began studying art and music at Simpson College in Iowa, developing his painting and drawing skills through sketches of botanical samples. His obvious aptitude for drawing the natural world prompted a teacher to suggest that Carver enroll in the botany program at the Iowa State Agricultural College.
Carver moved to Ames and began his botanical studies the following year as the first black student at Iowa State. Carver excelled in his studies. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Science degree, Carver's professors Joseph Budd and Louis Pammel persuaded him to stay on for a master's degree. His graduate studies included intensive work in plant pathology at the Iowa Experiment Station. In these years, Carver established his reputation as a brilliant botanist and began the work that he would pursue for the remainder of his career.
After graduating Iowa State, Carver was asked by Booker T. Washington to run the Agricultural Department of the Tuskegee Institute, which received renown under Carver’s Leadership.
Carver went on to become a prominent scientific expert and one of the most famous African-Americans of his time. Carver achieved international fame in political and professional circles. President Theodore Roosevelt admired his work and sought his advice on agricultural matters in the United States. Carver was also recognized abroad for his scientific expertise. In 1916, he was made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts - a rare honor for an American. Carver also advised Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on matters of agriculture and nutrition.
George Washington Carver died on January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 after falling down the stairs at his home. He was buried next to Booker T. Washington on the Tuskegee grounds. Carver's epitaph reads: "He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."