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George W. Carver, African-american
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Frances Johnston photographed Carver in 1906 when she visited Tuskegee Institute. Carver often wore a boutonniere of weeds or unusual flowers and, when asked why he had such weeds in his lapel, would take delight in explaining their many uses. George Washington Carver (1864-1943) was an African-American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor born into slavery in Missouri in 1864. In 1891 he attended and studied botany at Iowa State Agricultural College where he was the first black student, and later taught as the first black faculty member. Carver's reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. 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. As an agricultural chemist, Carver discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were his recipes and improvements for adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain. He was recognized for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo". Carver took a bad fall and was found unconscious by a maid. He died January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 from complications (anemia) resulting from the fall. In 1977, Carver was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. In 1990, Carver was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2000, Carver was an inductee in the USDA Hall of Heroes as the "Father of Chemurgy".
March 7th, 2013
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