#TJFBHM18: George Washington Carver, African American Scientist & Tuskegee Institute Teacher

Today in Black History we recognize the Peanut Man, George Washington Carver:

George Washington Carver is an African American scientist and inventor best known for his research of peanuts. He put his stamp on Black History as a teacher at Tuskegee Institute where he served for over 20 years.

Washington was born in Missouri, during the Civil War, where is parents where slaves. When slavery ended, Moses Carver and his wife, Susan, chose to keep George and his brother to raise as their own.  Since George was denied schooling due to his race, Susan taught him how to read and write.

Once he was of age, Washington decided to further his education. However, he was denied admittance to Highland College, once they found out his race, although he had already been accepted.  This was one of many challenges he faced due to the color of his skin.

Washington did not let Highland’s denial stop him from learning. He decided to conduct biological experiments himself and compiled a geological collection.

George Washington Carver was the first black student to attend Iowa State where he began his botanical studies. After he graduated from the university with a B.S. degree, he stayed to complete his master’s degree.

In 1896, Booker T. Washington hired George to lead Tuskegee Institute’s agricultural department. During his 20 years with the college, he achieved enough to improve the quality of life for farmers, and changed how crops were used. It was his work and impact at Tuskegee that makes him the icon he is today.

The department achieved national fame under his leadership. One of his notable contributions is “Jesup wagon,” a mobile classroom he pioneered which allowed him to teach farmers without them attending a traditional classroom setting.

Washington has been recognized for his work by a wide variety of organizations and leaders including President Theodore Roosevelt, British Royal Society of Arts, and Indian leader, Mahatma Ganhi. He was featured on the US postal stamps in 1948 and 1998, and on the half dollar coin between 1951 and 1954.

Today, you will find many schools across the United States named after George Washington Carver.