Friday, January 22, 2010

George Washington Carver

Its black history month and I thought it would be a good idea to highlight one man who was the vanguard of the agriculture and bio-green movement. That man is George Washington Carver.

He was born on or around July 12, 1865 into slavery. After slavery was abolished, he was raised by his original slave owner as his son. He was taught how to read and write at a time when African-Americans received no such fundamental training because they were not allowed to go to school where he lived. He ultimately went to a school for blacks and later attended college in Iowa where he ultimately studied agriculture.

In 1896, he joined the faculty at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (nka Tuskegee University), which was founded by Booker T. Washington. He became the school's director of agriculture. He devoted his time to research projects for helping farmers improve there methods of agriculture. He conducted experiments on soil management. He was shocked coming from the beautiful diverse agriculture and farming industry of Iowa to the limited astere cotton growing agriculture of the South. He wanted to change this myopic method of agriculture in the South.

Due to the poor condition of the soil in the South, he provided solutions to revive the soil by planting peanuts and soybeans. These crops help inject nitrogen back into the soil restoring it to a more fertile condition.

During his research and an effort to promote other crops in the South, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, he developed 300 derivative products from peanuts, including inks, dyes, plastics and cosmetics, and another 118 from sweet potatoes, including postage stamp glue and rubber. His efforts help transformed the Southern agriculture to a multi crop and profitable business.

His concepts in reinventing agriculture were the stepping stones for other agriculture innovations that followed. Therefore, he was not only an important person in African-American history, he was a very important and influential figure in American history.

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