Born in Missouri around 1864 during the years of Civil War (the exact date and year in which he was born not being known), George Washington Carver was a son of an enslaved couple, Mary and Giles. Only a week after his birth, invaders from Arkansas, a neighboring state, kidnapped him along with his sister and mother. They were sold in Kentucky. However, George was found and sent back to Missouri.
With the end of slavery in Missouri post the Civil War, Moses Carver, the owner of the slaves, kept George and his brother at his home, raising and educating them. With no school accepting black pupils at the time, Moses himself taught George how to read and write.
George struggled a lot to receive education, travelling miles to reach a school for black students. He then went on to receive a diploma from the Minneapolis High School in Kansas. Later, he was accepted in Highland College in Kansas but once the college realized about George’s race, his acceptance was reversed. Thus he resorted to conducting biological experiments on his own.
While science was his primary area of interest, George was also fond of arts. He started studying music and art at Simpson College, Iowa, in 1890 and later moved to Ames to study botany at the Iowa State College of Agriculture where he was the first black student. After completing his bachelors and masters degree from the college, he gained popularity as an excellent botanist.
He then started his journey as a teacher and researcher. Booker T. Washington, the principal of the Tuskegee Institute built for African Americans, hired him to head the institute’s agricultural department in 1896. Under the guidance of Carver, Tuskegee’s agricultural department helped to stabilize many people’s livelihoods by developing new crops and introducing a diversified crop range that could bare harsh weather conditions.
At Tuskegee, Carver’s work as a researcher on plant biology brought him into the limelight. His work focused on finding out how crops such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes can be