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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver , (born 1861?, near Diamond Grove, Missouri, U.S.—died January 5, 1943, Tuskegee, Alabama), American agricultural chemist, agronomist, and experimenter whose development of new products derived from peanuts (groundnuts), sweet potatoes, and soybeans helped revolutionize the agricultural economy of the South. For most of his career he taught and conducted research at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Carver was born into slavery, the son of a slave woman named Mary, owned by Moses Carver. During the American Civil War, the Carver farm was raided, and infant George and his mother were kidnapped and taken to Arkansas to be sold. Moses Carver was eventually able to track down young George but was unable to find Mary. Frail and sick, the motherless child was returned to his master’s home and nursed back to health. With the complete abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865, George was no longer a slave. Nevertheless, he remained on the Carver plantation until he was about 10 or 12 years old, when he left to acquire an education. He spent some time wandering about, working with his hands and developing his keen interest in plants and animals. He learned to draw, and later in life he devoted considerable time to painting flowers, plants, and landscapes.

By both books and experience, George acquired a fragmentary education while doing whatever work came to hand in order to subsist. He supported himself by varied occupations that included general household worker, hotel cook, laundryman, farm labourer, and homesteader. In his late 20s he managed to obtain a high school education in Minneapolis, Kansas, while working as a farmhand. After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was black, Carver matriculated at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, where he studied piano and art, subsequently transferring to Iowa State Agricultural College (later Iowa State University), where he received a bachelor’s degree in

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