by Renata Johnson
True lovers of peanuts have only one person to thank for the delicious discovery, and that would be African-American George Washington Carver. Carver was born in 1860, and was a botanist and inventor. He began his formal education at the age of twelve, and in order for him to get his education he had to leave the home of his adopted parents to be able to attend school. There were no segregated schools during this time near his home.
Carver later went on to enroll in Iowa State University in 1891, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1894, and a Master’s of Science degree in bacterial botany and agriculture in 1897.
He was soon asked after his graduation, by the founder of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes, Booker T. Washington, to come to the south and serve as the school’s Director Agriculture. He served on the faculty board until his death in 1943.
Carver set out to help people the people in the south. So, he began to promote the various uses for peanuts which he discovered. He also promoted the uses of soybeans and sweet potatoes. These crops help add nutrition on many farmers tables. There were over 100 products that he showed could be made using the peanuts such as; makeup, paint, gasoline, and paint.
Carver also worked at developing industrial applications from agricultural crops. During World War I, he found a way to replace the textile dyes formerly imported from Europe. He produced dyes of 500 different shades of dye His work brought him several honors for his work including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP, which he received every year thereafter. He appeared on the United States commemorative stamps in 1948. A second stamp was issued on February 3, 1998 as part of the celebration of the series.
There was no profit for many of Carver’s inventions. He never patented any of the inventions. He gave to the communities freely in hopes of them being able to better themselves. The most important fact to remember about Carver is that he changed the South from being a one-crop land of cotton.
In Carver’s later years he established a legacy by creating a museum on his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue agricultural research. He donated nearly $60,000 in his savings to create the foundation. Also, the area where Carver grew up, Diamond Grove, Missouri, preserved a park as a national monument to him. It was the first park in the United States designated to an African American.