george washington carver college education

  • History Classics
  • Your Profile
  • Find History on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on YouTube (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on Instagram (Opens in a new window)
  • Find History on TikTok (Opens in a new window)
  • This Day In History
  • History Podcasts
  • History Vault

George Washington Carver

By: Editors

Updated: April 24, 2023 | Original: October 27, 2009

Pioneering African American scientist George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts (though not peanut butter, as is often claimed), sweet potatoes and soybeans. Born into slavery before it was outlawed, Carver left home at a young age to pursue education and would eventually earn a master’s degree in agricultural science from Iowa State University. He would go on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for decades, and soon after his death his childhood home would be named a national monument—the first of its kind to honor a Black American.

Born on a farm near Diamond, Missouri , the exact date of Carver’s birth is unknown, but it’s thought he was born in January or June of 1864.

Nine years prior, Moses Carver, a white farm owner, purchased George Carver’s mother Mary when she was 13 years old. The elder Carver reportedly was against slavery , but needed help with his 240-acre farm.

When Carver was an infant, he, his mother and his sister were kidnapped from the Carver farm by one of the bands of slave raiders that roamed Missouri during the Civil War era. They were resold in Kentucky .

Moses Carver hired a neighbor to retrieve them, but the neighbor only succeeded in finding George, whom he purchased by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. Carver grew up knowing little about his mother or his father, who had died in an accident before he was born.

Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised the young George and his brother James as their own and taught the boys how to read and write.

James gave up his studies and focused on working the fields with Moses. George, however, was a frail and sickly child who could not help with such work; instead, Susan taught him how to cook, mend, embroider, do laundry and garden, as well as how to concoct simple herbal medicines.

At a young age, Carver took a keen interest in plants and experimented with natural pesticides, fungicides and soil conditioners. He became known as the “the plant doctor” to local farmers due to his ability to discern how to improve the health of their gardens, fields and orchards.

At age 11, Carver left the farm to attend an all-Black school in the nearby town of Neosho.

He was taken in by Andrew and Mariah Watkins, a childless Black couple who gave him a roof over his head in exchange for help with household chores. A midwife and nurse, Mariah imparted on Carver her broad knowledge of medicinal herbs and her devout faith.

Disappointed with the education he received at the Neosho school, Carver moved to Kansas about two years later, joining numerous other Blacks who were traveling west.

For the next decade or so, Carver moved from one Midwestern town to another, putting himself through school and surviving off of the domestic skills he learned from his foster mothers.

He graduated from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas, in 1880 and applied to Highland College in Kansas (today’s Highland Community College ). He was initially accepted at the all-white college but was later rejected when the administration learned he was Black.

In the late 1880s, Carver befriended the Milhollands, a white couple in Winterset, Iowa , who encouraged him to pursue a higher education. Despite his former setback, he enrolled in Simpson College , a Methodist school that admitted all qualified applicants.

Carver initially studied art and piano in hopes of earning a teaching degree, but one of his professors, Etta Budd, was skeptical of a Black man being able to make a living as an artist. After learning of his interests in plants and flowers, Budd encouraged Carver to apply to the Iowa State Agricultural School (now Iowa State University ) to study botany.

george washington carver college education

HISTORY Vault: Black History

Watch acclaimed Black History documentaries on HISTORY Vault.

Carver Makes Black History

In 1894, Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. Impressed by Carver’s research on the fungal infections of soybean plants, his professors asked him to stay on for graduate studies.

Carver worked with famed mycologist (fungal scientist) L.H. Pammel at the Iowa State Experimental Station, honing his skills in identifying and treating plant diseases.

In 1896, Carver earned his Master of Agriculture degree and immediately received several offers, the most attractive of which came from Booker T. Washington (whose last name George would later add to his own) of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University ) in Alabama .

Washington convinced the university’s trustees to establish an agricultural school, which could only be run by Carver if Tuskegee was to keep its all-Black faculty. Carver accepted the offer and would work at Tuskegee Institute for the rest of his life.

Tuskegee Institute

Carver’s early years at Tuskegee were not without hiccups.

For one, agriculture training was not popular—Southern farmers believed they already knew how to farm and students saw schooling as a means to escape farming. Additionally, many faculty members resented Carver for his high salary and demand to have two dormitory rooms, one for him and one for his plant specimens.

Carver also struggled with the demands of the faculty position he held. He wanted to devote his time to researching agriculture for ways to help out poor Southern farmers, but he was also expected to manage the school’s two farms, teach, ensure the school’s toilets and sanitary facilities worked properly, and sit on multiple committees and councils.

Carver and Washington had a complicated relationship and would butt heads often, in part because Carver wanted little to do with teaching (though he was beloved by his students). Carver would eventually get his way when Washington died in 1915 and was succeeded by Robert Russa Moton, who relieved Carver of his teaching duties except for summer school.

What Did George Washington Carver Invent?

By this time, Carver already had great successes in the laboratory and the community. He taught poor farmers that they could feed hogs acorns instead of commercial feed and enrich croplands with swamp muck instead of fertilizers. But it was his ideas regarding crop rotation that proved to be most valuable.

Through his work on soil chemistry, Carver learned that years of growing cotton had depleted the nutrients from soil, resulting in low yields. But by growing nitrogen-fixing plants like peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, the soil could be restored, allowing yield to increase dramatically when the land was reverted to cotton use a few years later.

To further help farmers, he invented the Jessup wagon, a kind of mobile (horse-drawn) classroom and laboratory used to demonstrate soil chemistry.

Carver: The Peanut Man

Farmers, of course, loved the high yields of cotton they were now getting from Carver’s crop rotation technique. But the method had an unintended consequence: A surplus of peanuts and other non-cotton products.

Carver set to work on finding alternative uses for these products. For example, he invented numerous products from sweet potatoes, including edible products like flour and vinegar and non-food items such as stains, dyes, paints and writing ink.

But Carver’s biggest success came from peanuts.

In all, he developed more than 300 food, industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including milk, Worcestershire sauce, punches, cooking oils, salad oil, paper, cosmetics, soaps and wood stains. He also experimented with peanut-based medicines, such as antiseptics, laxatives and goiter medications.

It should be noted, however, that many of these suggestions or discoveries remained curiosities and did not find widespread applications.

In 1921, Carver appeared before the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the peanut industry, which was seeking tariff protection. Though his testimony did not begin well, he described the wide range of products that could be made from peanuts, which not only earned him a standing ovation but also convinced the committee to approve a high protected tariff for the common legume.

He then became known as “The Peanut Man.”

Fame and Legacy

In the last two decades of his life, Carver lived as a minor celebrity but his focus was always on helping people.

He traveled the South to promote racial harmony, and he traveled to India to discuss nutrition in developing nations with Mahatma Gandhi .

Up until the year of his death, he also released bulletins for the public (44 bulletins between 1898 and 1943). Some of the bulletins reported on research findings but many others were more practical in nature and included cultivation information for farmers, science for teachers and recipes for housewives.

In the mid-1930s, when the polio virus raged in America, Carver became convinced that peanuts were the answer. He offered a treatment of peanut oil massages and reported positive results, though no scientific evidence exists that the treatments worked (the benefits patients experienced were likely due to the massage treatment and attentive care rather than the oil).

Carver died on January 5, 1943, at Tuskegee Institute after falling down the stairs of his home. He was 78 years old. Carver was buried next to Booker T. Washington on the Tuskegee Institute grounds.

Soon after, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation for Carver to receive his own monument, an honor previously only granted to presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln .

The George Washington Carver National Monument now stands in Diamond, Missouri. Carver was also posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

George Washington Carver; American Chemical Society . George W. Carver (1865? – 1943); The State Historical Society of Missouri . George Washington Carver; Science History Museum . George Washington Carver, The Black History Monthiest Of Them All; NPR . George Washington Carver And The Peanut; American Heritage .

george washington carver college education

Sign up for Inside History

Get HISTORY’s most fascinating stories delivered to your inbox three times a week.

By submitting your information, you agree to receive emails from HISTORY and A+E Networks. You can opt out at any time. You must be 16 years or older and a resident of the United States.

More details : Privacy Notice | Terms of Use | Contact Us

george washington carver college education

  • Scientific Biographies

George Washington Carver

Known to many as the Peanut Man, Carver developed new products from underappreciated Southern agricultural crops and taught poor farmers how to improve soil productivity.

black and white photo of George Washington Carver

In the post–Civil War South, one man made it his mission to use agricultural chemistry and scientific methodology to improve the lives of impoverished farmers.

George Washington Carver (ca. 1864–1943) was born enslaved in Missouri at the time of the Civil War. His exact birth date and year are unknown, and reported dates range between 1860 and 1865. He was orphaned as an infant, and, with the war bringing an end to slavery, he grew up a free child, albeit on the farm of his mother’s former master, Moses Carver. The Carvers raised George and gave him their surname. Early on he developed a keen interest in plants, collecting specimens in the woods on the farm.

George Washington Carver seated (front row, center) on steps at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, with staff, ca. 1902.

At age 11, Carver left home to pursue an education in the nearby town of Neosho. He was taken in by an African American couple, Mariah and Andrew Watkins, for whom he did odd jobs while attending school for the first time. Disappointed in the school in Neosho, Carver eventually left for Kansas, where for several years he supported himself through a variety of occupations and added to his education in a piecemeal fashion.

He eventually earned a high school diploma in his twenties, but he soon found that opportunities to attend college for young black men in Kansas were nonexistent. So in the late 1880s Carver relocated again, this time to Iowa, where he met the Milhollands, a white couple who encouraged him to enroll in college.

Carver briefly attended Simpson College in Indianola, studying music and art. When a teacher there learned of his interest in botany, she encouraged him to transfer to Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University), dissuading him from his original dream of becoming an artist. Carver earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Iowa State in 1894 and a master’s in 1896. While there he demonstrated a talent for identifying and treating plant diseases.

George Washington Carver (second from right) with students in the chemistry laboratory at Tuskegee Institute, ca. 1902.

Around this time Booker T. Washington was looking to establish an agricultural department and research facility at his Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. Washington, the leading black statesman of the day, and two others had founded the institute in 1881 as a new vocational school for African Americans, and the institute had steadily grown.

As Carver was the only African American in the nation with an advanced degree in scientific agriculture, Washington sought him out. Carver joined the faculty of Tuskegee in 1896 and stayed there the rest of his life. He was both a teacher and a prolific researcher, heading up the institute’s Agricultural Experiment Station.

Crop Rotation

Carver’s primary interest was in using chemistry and scientific methodology to improve the lives of impoverished farmers in southeastern Alabama. To that end he conducted soil studies to determine what crops would grow best in the region and found that the local soil was perfect for growing peanuts and sweet potatoes. He also taught farmers about fertilization and crop rotation as methods for increasing soil productivity. The primary crop in the South was cotton, which severely depleted soil nutrients, but by rotating crops—alternating cotton with soil-enriching crops like legumes and sweet potatoes—farmers could ultimately increase their cotton yield for a plot of land. And crop rotation was cheaper than commercial fertilization. But what to do with all the sweet potatoes and peanuts? At the time, not many people ate them, and there weren’t many other uses for these crops.

George Washington Carver standing in a field, probably at Tuskegee, holding a piece of soil, 1906. He wears a suit, flower in his lapel, and a hat.

New Uses for “Undesirable” Crops

Carver went to work to invent new food, industrial, and commercial products—including flour, sugar, vinegar, cosmetic products, paint, and ink—from these “lowly” plants. From peanuts alone he developed hundreds of new products, thus creating a market for this inexpensive, soil-enriching legume. In 1921 Carver famously spoke before the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of the nascent peanut industry to secure tariff protection and was thereafter known as the Peanut Man.

When he first arrived at Tuskegee in 1896, the peanut was not even a recognized U.S. crop; by 1940 it had become one of the six leading crops in the nation and the second cash crop in the South (after cotton). Both peanuts and sweet potatoes were slowly incorporated into Southern cooking, and today the peanut especially is ubiquitous in the American diet.

Carver also developed traveling schools and other outreach programs to educate farmers. He published popular bulletins, distributed to farmers for free, that reported on his research at the Agricultural Experiment Station and its applications.


Through chemistry and conviction Carver revolutionized Southern agriculture and raised the standard of living of his fellow man. In addition to the popular honor of being one of the most recognized names in African American history, Carver received the 1923 Spingarn Medal and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The George Washington Carver National Monument was the first national monument dedicated to a black American and the first to a nonpresident.

Featured image: George Washington Carver, Tuskegee Institute, 1906. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-J601-302/Frances Benjamin Johnston.

Browse more biographies

Warren K. Lewis

Warren K. Lewis

george washington carver college education

Rosalind Franklin

george washington carver college education

Nancy Chang

Copy the above HTML to republish this content. We have formatted the material to follow our guidelines, which include our credit requirements. Please review our full list of guidelines for more information. By republishing this content, you agree to our republication requirements.

How George Washington Carver Went From Enslaved to Educational Pioneer

George Washington Carver

Carver was born enslaved

No documents survive detailing Carver’s birth, but he was likely born around 1864 or 1865, on the farm of Moses Carver, near Diamond Grove, Missouri. His mother, Mary, was owned by Moses Carver, and his father, who died either before or after George’s birth, was enslaved on a nearby farm.

Shortly after his birth, Mary and George were kidnapped by Confederate raiders who hoped to sell them for profit. Moses attempted to track them down but was only able to locate young George, and he never saw his mother again.

Freed after the end of the Civil War but a sickly youth, George and his brother Jim were raised by Moses and his wife, Susan. The first in a series of couples who recognized and nurtured George’s native abilities and talents, they taught him to read and encouraged his early interest in plants and nature, with Carver working alongside Susan in her garden, and wandering the nearby woods and fields, collecting specimens.

READ MORE: Did George Washington Carver Invent Peanut Butter?

He didn’t begin formal education until he was about 12

Unable to attend the local white people-only elementary school, George left the Carvers farm to pursue his education in Neosho, Missouri, where he lived and worked with a Black couple, Mariah and Andrew Watkins. Carver learned more about plants and herbs from Mariah’s work as a midwife, but he found himself disappointed in the lack of academic rigor in the local Black school.

By the late 1870s, Carver was on the move again. He joined a number of other African-Americans who decided to move west, primarily to Kansas, as part of a mass migration known as the “Exodusters.” He supported himself through odd jobs, before finally graduating from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas.

When Carver was denied admission to college, he educated himself

Carver received a full scholarship to Kansas’ Highland College, but when he showed up on campus to enroll, school administers refused to admit him — claiming they had been unaware of his race.

Once again, Carver took matters into his own hands. He settled a homesteading claim, where he dedicated his time to assemble an extensive collection of botany and geological specimens.

He eventually made his way to Iowa, where the bright young man once again found support from a local couple, John and Helen Millholland. They encouraged him to enroll in Simpson College, a small school open to all races. Despite his later fame as an agriculturalist, Carver initially studied music and art. (He even showed some of his paintings at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.)

He was the first Black student — and faculty member — at Iowa State University

Carver’s art teacher at Simpson, Etta Budd, helped push him towards his life’s work. Fearing that Carver would struggle to make a living as a Black artist, and knowing of his lifelong love of plants, Budd convinced Carver to switch his course of study to botany and to transfer to Iowa State University (then known as Iowa State Agricultural College).

Carver was accepted as the school’s first Black student and received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences in 1894 when he was around 30 years old. Recognizing his talents, the school asked him to stay on as an instructor while he obtained his master’s degree, which he finished in 1896, becoming the first African-American to earn an advanced degree in the field.

George Washington Carver with students in his laboratory at Tuskegee Institute

Carver spent more than 40 years at Tuskegee

Shortly after obtaining his master’s degree, Carver was lured away from Iowa by Booker T. Washington . Washington was a prominent educator and the founder of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University ) in Alabama.

The school initially focused on offering vocational training for Black people, and in 1896, Washington pursued Carver to lead its new agricultural department.

Although he originally planned on staying at Tuskegee for just a few years, he remained there for the rest of his career. Despite initially limited funding, he soon created a thriving research institute and became a beloved and inspiring teacher to his students.

Like Washington, Carver advocated for increased educational opportunities for African-Americans, although both men were criticized by other Black leaders, including W.E.B. Du Bois , who preached a more aggressive, confrontational approach to racism and segregation in America, and attacked Washington and Carver for their focus on vocational skills as a means of advancement.

READ MORE: George Washington Carver’s Powerful Circle of Friends

Carver’s 'movable schools' helped save Southern farmers

Carver became a pioneer of emerging agricultural theories like soil conservation and crop rotation, both desperately needed due to an overreliance on growing cotton that left the soil on many southern farms dangerously depleted.

Carver taught agricultural extension programs at Tuskegee and began his decades-long research experiments with alternative crops like sweet potatoes and, most famously, peanuts, developing more than 300 different uses and earning him lasting fame as the “peanut man."

But Carver realized that low literacy rates across the Deep South and a lack of educational opportunities made it difficult to spread his message where it was needed most. He offered night school classes and abbreviated agricultural conferences held during non-harvesting seasons.

Beginning in 1906, Carver helped organize a series of agricultural schools on wheels that traveled around Alabama offering practical, hands-on lessons and information on everything from crop, seed and fertilizer selection to dairy farming, nutrition and the best types of animals to breed in particular regions. These "moveable schools" reached thousands of people each month and were eventually expanded to include sanitation demonstrations and registered nurses who offered medical advice and assistance.

Carver patented very few inventions, preferring to allow others to benefit from his work. His focus on the importance of education remained a lifelong passion. Upon his death in 1943, he bequeathed $60,000 to establish the George Washington Carver Foundation, which provides funding for Black researchers at Tuskegee.

Black History

johnnie cochran

Jesse Owens

alice coachman

Alice Coachman

wilma rudolph in a blue usa zip up sweatshirt

Wilma Rudolph

tiger woods smiling at the conclusion of a golf tournament

Tiger Woods

representative deb haaland

Deb Haaland

black and white photo of langston hughes smiling past the foreground

10 Famous Langston Hughes Poems

maya angelou gestures while speaking in a chair during an interview at her home in 1978

5 Crowning Achievements of Maya Angelou

ava duvernay

Ava DuVernay

octavia spencer

Octavia Spencer

inventor garrett morgan helping responders lift the body of a tunnel disaster victim while wearing his safety hood device on his back

Inventor Garrett Morgan’s Lifesaving 1916 Rescue

beyonce holding a standing microphone with her right hand and performing at a concert wearing a black and white striped dress

Get to Know 5 History-Making Black Country Singers

In Search of George Washington Carver’s True Legacy

The famed agriculturalist deserves to be known for much more than peanuts

Rachel Kaufman

Contributing writer

George Washington Carver

If the name George Washington Carver conjures up any spark of recognition, it’s probably associated with peanuts. That isn’t an unfair connection—he did earn the nickname “the peanut man” for his work with the legume—but it’s one that doesn’t give credit to the rest of Carver’s pioneering, fascinating work.

“People, when they think of Carver, they think of his science—or they think he invented peanuts,” says Curtis Gregory, a park ranger at the George Washington Carver National Monument at Carver’s birthplace in Diamond, Missouri. “There’s so much more to the man.”

Mark Hersey, a history professor at Mississippi State University and author of an environmental biography of Carver, says that “[Carver] became famous for things he probably shouldn’t have been famous for, and that fame obscured the reasons we should remember him.” In Hersey’s view, the contributions Carver made to the environmental movement, including his ahead-of-the-times ideas about self-sufficiency and sustainability, are far more important than the “cook-stove chemistry” he engaged in.

Nonetheless, Carver became ludicrously famous for his peanut work—possibly the most famous black man in America for a while. ­Upon his death in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked on his passing: “The world of science has lost one of its most eminent figures,” he said.

Carver was born enslaved in western rural Missouri, orphaned as an infant and freed shortly after the Civil War. Sometime in his 20s, Carver moved to Iowa where a white couple he met encouraged him to pursue higher education. Carver’s education before this had been largely patchy and self-taught; at Simpson College in central Iowa, he studied art until a teacher encouraged him to enroll at Iowa State Agricultural College to study botany. There, he became the school’s first African-American student.

Founded in 1858, Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) was the country’s first land-grant university, a group of schools with a mission to teach not just the liberal arts but the applied sciences, too, including agriculture. There, students studied soils, entomology, analytical and agricultural chemistry, practical agriculture, landscape gardening and rural architecture, in addition to more basic subjects like algebra, bookkeeping, geography and psychology.

Upon graduation from Iowa State in 1896, Carver was bombarded with offers to teach. The most attractive was that from Booker T. Washington, the first leader of the Tuskegee Institute, which was opening an agricultural school. As the first black man in the U.S. to receive graduate training in modern agricultural methods, Carver was the logical choice for the role. He accepted, writing that “it has always been the one great ideal of my life to be of the greatest good to the greatest number of ‘my people’ possible and to this end I have been preparing myself these many years; feeling as I do that this line of education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom to our people.”

As Carver rode the train to Alabama, however, his heart sank. In a 1941 radio broadcast, he recalled: “My train left the golden wheat fields and the tall green corn of Iowa for the acres of cotton, nothing but cotton, ... ... The scraggly cotton grew close up to the cabin doors; a few lonesome collards, the only sign of vegetables; stunted cattle, boney mules; fields and hill sides cracked and scarred with gullies and deep ruts ... Not much evidence of scientific farming anywhere. Everything looked hungry: the land, the cotton, the cattle, and the people.”

What Carver understood was that cotton, while lucrative, did nothing to replenish the soil. It’s not the most demanding crop, but its shallow roots, and the practice of monocropping, mean that soil erodes faster from a cotton field than if the earth was left alone. (Carver later would describe eroded gullies on the Tuskeegee campus that were deep enough for a person to stand inside.)

What he failed to understand, however, were the political and social forces he would be up against.

“He’s enormously arrogant when he comes down,” Hersey says. “It’s an innocent arrogance, if anything.” At Tuskegee, Carver published and distributed bulletins suggesting farmers buy a second horse to run a two-horse plow, which could till soil deeper, and described commercial fertilizers “as if people have never heard of them.” Most of the poor sharecropping black farmers had heard of fertilizer, but couldn’t scrape together the money to buy any, let alone a second horse.

“And then it dawns on him,” says Hersey. In turn-of-the-century Alabama, black farmers lived a precarious existence, ever-threatened by unevenly enforced laws that disproportionately harmed blacks. After the Civil War, Southern landowners “allowed” poor farmers, mostly blacks, to work their land in exchange for a fee or a cut of the crop. The system was precarious—one bad year could push a farmer into ruinous debt—and unfair: One historian called it “a system of near slavery without legal sanctions.” Near Tuskegee, one tenant farmer was arrested “for chopping wood too close to the property line,” Hersey says. While the farmer remained in jail, whites put up his farm for sale. When tenants didn’t control their land and could be evicted at any time—or kicked off their land on trumped-up charges—they had little incentive to improve the soil.

George Washington Carver

Still, Carver got to work. He worked tirelessly—the Carver Monument says from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. some days—on improving crop yields and encouraging farmers to diversify. That, too, was tough: Financially lucrative cotton, Hersey says, was seen as the only crop that could get tenants out of debt. Carver encouraged farmers to grow, or at the very least forage, their own vegetables and proteins so they would spend less money on food. Later, he developed and implemented the Jesup Agricultural Wagon, a school-on-wheels that brought agricultural equipment and demonstration materials to rural farmers unable to travel. The wagon reached 2,000 people a month in its first summer of operations, in 1906.

“What Carver comes to see,” Hersey says, was that “altering [black sharecroppers’] interactions with the natural world could undermine the very pillars of Jim Crow.” Hersey argues that black Southerners viewed their lives under Jim Crow through an environmental lens. “If we want to understand their day to day lives, it’s not separate drinking fountains, it’s ‘How do I make a living on this soil, under these circumstances, where I’m not protected’“ by the institutions that are supposed to protect its citizens? Carver encouraged farmers to look to the land for what they needed, rather than going into debt buying fertilizer (and paint, and soap, and other necessities—and food). Instead of buying the fertilizer that “scientific agriculture” told them to buy, farmers should compost. In lieu of buying paint, they should make it themselves from clay and soybeans.

“He gave black farmers a means of staying on the land. We all couldn’t move north to Chicago and New York,” Michael Twitty, a culinary historian, told the Chicago Tribune .

And that’s where the peanuts come in. Peanuts could be grown in the same fields as cotton, because their productive times of year were different. While some plants need to be fertilized with nitrogen, peanuts can produce their own, thanks to a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that live on their roots. That special trait meant they could restore nutrients to depleted soil, and they were “an enormously rich food source,” high in protein and more nutritious than the “3M--meat, meal and molasses” diet that most poor farmers subsisted on.

Carver encouraged farmers to grow peanuts, but then he had to encourage them to do something with those peanuts, hence his famous “ 300 uses for peanuts .” Carver’s peanut work led him to create peanut bread, peanut cookies, peanut sausage, peanut ice cream, and even peanut coffee. He patented a peanut-butter-based face cream, and created peanut-based shampoo, dyes and paints, and even the frightening-sounding “peanut nitroglycerine.”

However, this number may be a little inflated. Of the roughly 300 uses for the peanut (the Carver Museum at Tuskegee gives 287) Carver detailed, “many…were clearly not original,” such as a recipe for salted peanuts, historian Barry Mackintosh wrote in American Heritage in 1977 on the occasion of the election of peanut-farmer Jimmy Carter as president. Others he may have gotten from contemporary cookbooks or magazines; at the beginning of “ How To Grow The Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing It For Human Consumption “ Carver “gratefully acknowledge[s] assistance” from more than 20 sources, including Good Housekeeping , The Montgomery Advertiser , Wallace ’s Farmer and a number of other magazines, newspapers and cookbooks.

Yet Carver had no illusions about his work. He wasn’t trying to create “the best” products—or even wholly original ones, as few of his creations were—but to disseminate information and recipes that could be made by poor farmers with few tools or resources.

He cared about helping what he called “the furthest man down,” says Gregory.

Carver’s student John Sutton, who worked with him in his lab around 1919, recalled:

When I could not find the “real” scientist in him, I became hurt.... I should have known better since time and again he made it clear to me that he was primarily an artist who created good ... out of natural things. He knew that he was not “a real chemist” so-called engaged in even applied chemical research. He used to say to me jokingly, “You and I are ‘cook-stove chemists’ but we dare not admit it, because it would damage the publicity that Dr. Moton [Booker T. Washington’s successor] and his assistants send out in press releases about me and my research, for his money-raising campaigns.”

Carver’s ubiquitous association with peanuts is in many ways due to the explosive testimony he delivered before Congress in favor of a peanut tariff. In 1921, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee asked Carver to testify on a proposed tariff on imported peanuts. Expecting an uneducated backwoodsman, the committee was blown away by the soft-spoken scientist.

“He’s had thousands of public speaking appearances at this point,” Hersey says. “He can handle it all. [Congress] is making watermelon jokes, but they’re not saying anything he hasn’t already heard at the Georgia State Fair.” The tariff on imported peanuts stuck, and Carver became, in Hersey’s words, “a rockstar.”

In Search of George Washington Carver’s True Legacy

Late in his life, a visitor asked Carver if he believed his peanut work was his greatest work. “No,” he replied, “but it has been featured more than my other work.”

So what was his work? Hersey argues it was a way of thinking holistically about the environment, and an understanding, well before it had reached mainstream thought, of the interconnectedness between the health of the land and the health of the people who lived on it. “His campaign is to open your eyes to the world around you,” Hersey says, to understand, in Carver’s phrase, “the mutual dependency of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms.” But that doesn’t make for good soundbites, even today.

It’s not as catchy as 300 uses for peanuts, but years before the environmental movement took hold, Twitty told the Tribune , “Carver knew the value of working the land, of being with the land, of working with each other.”

Get the latest History stories in your inbox?

Click to visit our Privacy Statement .

Rachel Kaufman | READ MORE

Rachel Kaufman writes about games, cities and science.

  • Skip to global NPS navigation
  • Skip to the main content
  • Skip to the footer section

george washington carver college education


Rate the lesson plan, lesson plan, overcoming obstacles: george washington carver’s pathway to education.

George Washington Carver National Monument

Essential Question

What character traits does a person need to possess when facing obstacles that could prevent them from achieving a dream?

In this lesson, students will follow the path of George Washington Carver as he pursued educational opportunities that were denied to him in the Missouri community where he was born. Students will gain an understanding of the challenges he faced due to pervasive racism and discrimination as he left the present location of George Washington Carver National Monument to pursue better opportunities in life. Students can find inspiration for their own goals through Carver's perseverance and success.

After my first few lessons in reading and writing, I resolved to get an education, to get all that I could out of books.

About this lesson, where it fits into the curriculum.

This lesson works with units on the expansion of slavery - especially following the Louisiana Purchase, the Missouri Compromise and Missouri Statehood, the Civil War era in the Trans-Mississippi West, the Missouri-Kansas border war, the Reconstruction era and social settings, segregation and Jim Crow laws, racism, and the character traits of determination, perseverance, and resilience.

National History Standards addressed (grades 5-12)

Era 4 Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

  • Standard 3B: The student understands how the debates over slavery influenced politics and sectionalism. 5-12: Explain the Missouri Compromise and evaluate it political consequences.
  • Standard 3B: The student understands the Reconstruction programs to transform social relations in the South. 7-12: Analyze how African Americans attempted to improve their economic position during Reconstruction and explain the factors involved in their quest for land ownership. [Analyze multiple causation]
  • Standard 2B The student understands "scientific racism", race relations, and the struggle for equal rights. 7-12: Analyze the scientific theories of race and their application to society and politics. [Examine the influence of ideas]
  • Standard 3A The student understands social tensions and their consequences in the postwar era. 7-12: Examine rising racial tensions, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, and the emergence of Garveyism. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Missouri Social Studies Learning Standards K-5 (5th grade)             

Missouri social studies grade level expectations 6-8.

Theme 5 Continuity and Change

  • Plat map of Marion Township, Newton County, Missouri, 1880 (Map 1)
  • Historic base map of Carver Farm, Newton County, Missouri (Map 2)
  • Base map, 1882 atlas map of Neosho, Missouri 1882 (Map 3)
  • Map of George Washington Carver’s education quest (Map 4)
  • 1897 or Thereabouts, George Washington Carver (Reading 1)
  • Equipment, Edgar A. Guest (Reading 2)
  • George Washington Carver’s sketch of birthplace cabin (Image 1)
  • Birthsite location, George Washington Carver National Monument (Image 2)
  • Carver as young teen, c. 1876 (Image 3)
  • George Washington Carver’s sketch of 1872 Neosho Colored School and Watkins Home (Image 4)
  • “Aunt” Mariah Watkins sitting with children, 1903 (Image 5)
  • Stephen Frost, teacher at Neosho Colored School, c. 1875 (Image 6)
  • George Washington Carver as a college graduate (Image 7)
  • George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, c. 1935 (Image 8)

Visiting the Site


Download lesson plan, including the maps, readings, and photographs/images.

Each numbered section is one square mile; blue oval indicate locations of rural, one-room schools; Moses Carver farm is indicated in red

Download Map 1: Plat map of Marion Township, Newton County, Missouri, 1880 (Map 1)

Detailed map of the 240 acre Moses Carver Farm, showing orchards, streams, fields, and woodlands

Download MAP 2 Historic Base Map Carver Farm

Showing historically Black neighborhood that included the Watkins home and the historic Neosho Colored School

Download MAP 3 Detail of Historic Base Map of Neosho MO 1882

Map of Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa showing the path of travel George W. Carver took and the towns where he lived while pursuing an education

Download Map 4 G.W. Carver's Education Quest

Autobiographical letter

Download Reading 1 1897 or Therabouts, G.W. Carver

Poem chosen by G.W. Carver to read during 1942 commencement address at Selma University

Download Reading 2 Equipment, Edgar A. Guest

George Washington Carver's sketch of the birthplace cabin

Download Image 1 Birthplace Sketch

Photo of birthplace location today

Download Image 2 Birthplace Location

Photograph of George Washington Carver at 10-12 years of age

Download Image 3 Young George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver's sketch of the Neosho school that he attended

Download Image 4 Neosho School Sketch

Mariah Watkins shown in a formal portrait

Download Image 5 Mariah Watkins

George Washington Carver's teacher at the Neosho school

Download Image 6 Stephen Frost

George Washington Carver, taken at Iowa State College as he graduated with a masters degree in agriculture

Download Image 7 George Washington Carver 1896

George Washington Carver, taken at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama

Download Image 8 George Washington Carver

Lesson Hook/Preview

Setting the stage, determining the facts.

  • What information establishes that George Washington Carver was born into slavery?
  • What “pets” did George Washington Carver say he enjoyed as a child?
  • How did Carver’s experiences at this site influence his future life?
  • Because of his childhood illness, what were two results on the health of young Carver?
  • What was something that George Washington Carver greatly desired and that Mr. and Mrs. Carver encouraged him to secure?
  • How does this poem capture the character of George Washington Carver?
  • Why do you think Carver chose this to read to a group of students graduating from college?
  • According to the poem, what character trait comes from within a person’s soul?

Visual Evidence

  • What is the furthest distance between two schools?
  • In what section is School #1?
  • What are two geographic features on the M. Carver farm?
  • How far would young George walk to the nearest school if he lived near the spring on the M. Carver farm?
  • Based on research and archaeological investigations, this map depicts how the M. Carver farm may have appeared during George Washington Carver’s childhood years. What features of the farm indicate Moses Carver’s prosperity?
  • Locate the site of the “slave cabin,” where George and his brother Jim were born. What direction is its placement from the Moses Carver residence?
  • Oral history accounts tell of a time when Moses Carver’s farm was attacked by outlaws and Moses was hung by his thumbs in a tree near the cabins. The outlaws left him hanging in the tree but Susan Carver somehow freed him. He survived the torturous episode. The tree’s location is marked on this map.
  • As a child, George Washington Carver spent much time cultivating his secret garden in the woodlands of the farm. Locate the woodlands and discuss why he said he kept his garden it was not far from the house.

Putting it all together   

Separate educational institutions were maintained throughout much of the United States until the 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision. The Lincoln Schools in Neosho were integrated in 1954. When George Washington Carver left Neosho, Missouri he traveled to the following locations:

slavery Missouri Compromise acrimonious Reconstruction Jim Crow racism

Contact Information

Email us about this lesson plan

Lesson Plans

Last updated: July 8, 2022

  • African American Heroes

George Washington Carver

How this scientist nurtured the land—and people’s minds

To George Washington Carver, peanuts were like paintbrushes: They were tools to express his imagination. Carver was a scientist and an inventor who found hundreds of uses for peanuts. He experimented with the legumes to make lotions, flour, soups, dyes, plastics, and gasoline—though not peanut butter!

Carver was born an enslaved person in the 1860s in Missouri . The exact date of his birth is unclear, but some historians believe it was around 1864, just before slavery was abolished in 1865. As a baby, George, his mother, and his sister were kidnapped from the man who enslaved them, Moses Carver. The kidnappers were slave raiders who planned to sell them. Moses Carver found George before he could be sold, but not his mother and sister. George never saw them again.

After slavery was abolished, George was raised by Moses Carver and his wife. He worked on their farm and in their garden, and became curious about plants, soils, and fertilizers. Neighbors called George “the plant doctor” because he knew how to nurse sick plants back to life. When he was about 13, he left to attend school and worked hard to get his education.

In 1894 he became the first Black person to graduate from Iowa State College, where he studied botany and fungal diseases, and later earned a master’s degree in agriculture. In 1896, Booker T. Washington offered him a teaching position at Tuskegee Institute, a college for African Americans.

There, Carver’s research with peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans flourished. He made agricultural advancements to help improve the lives of poor Black farmers like himself. With the help of his mobile classroom, the Jesup Wagon, he brought his lessons to former enslaved farmworkers and used showmanship to educate and entertain people about agriculture.

On January 5, 1943, Carver died after falling down some stairs. But his contributions to the field of agriculture would not be forgotten. Carver became the first Black scientist to be memorialized in a national monument, which was erected near his birthplace in Diamond Grove, Missouri.

Read this next!

African american pioneers of science, black history month, 1963 march on washington.

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your California Privacy Rights
  • Children's Online Privacy Policy
  • Interest-Based Ads
  • About Nielsen Measurement
  • Do Not Sell My Info
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic Education
  • Shop Nat Geo
  • Customer Service
  • Manage Your Subscription

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society Copyright © 2015-2024 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

The Carver Museum

  • (602)675-4755

[email protected]

(602) 675-4755.

George Washington Carver

“The Primary idea in all my work was to help the farmer and fill the poor man’s empty dinner pail … My idea is to help the ‘man farthest down’; This is why I have made every process as simple as I could to put it within his reach.”

George W. Carver

George Washington Carver, Born a slave around 1864, became a famous artist, teacher, scientist, and humanitarian. From childhood, he developed a remarkable understanding of the natural world. Carver devoted his life to improving agriculture and the economic conditions of African-Americans in the south.

In 1896, Booker T Washington hired Carver to teach agriculture at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Over a 40-year career, Carver taught many generations of Tuskegee students. He emphasized increasing the independence of local farmers. He believed that a practical education would both make African-Americans and white farmers self-sufficient.

“It has always been the one ideal of my life to be of the greatest good to the greatest number of my people possible and to this end I have been preparing myself for these many years, feeling as I do that this line of education is the key” 

george washington carver college education

Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver  (NPS Movie 28min) 

The Early Years

george washington carver college education

“Day after day I spent in the woods… to collect my floral beauties… all sorts of vegetation seemed to thrive under my touch until I was styled the plant doctor, and plants from all over the county would be brought to me for treatment”

 George Washington Carver

Born as a slave on a small farm in Diamond Grove, Missouri; the best information suggest he was born in 1864, near the end of the civil war. To appreciate nature and to assist his learning, George began a lifelong habit of taking long walks to observe nature and collect specimens.

Religion also played an important role in Carver’s life. It broke down social and racial barriers and was the inspiration for his research and teachings. Yet, he did not allow his beliefs to conflict with his scientific knowledge.

“The Great Creator… permit(s) me to speak to Him through… the animals, mineral and vegetable kingdoms…”

The School Days of G.W. Carver

“If you love it enough, anything will talk to you”  

In the 1880s, local white schools did not allow African American students. Therefore, even though he had a great desire for knowledge, carver attended school whenever he could.

  In 1890, Carver went to Simpson College Iowa to study art. Although African Americans were not allowed to register eventually Carver was admitted to class and he proved to be a talented artist. He paid for his tuition by doing laundry, cooking, and selling his paintings. Carver switched to agriculture studies because he saw this as a better way to contribute to his people. Carver set out to find practical ways to benefit African American farmers.

That led to enrolling at Iowa Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa. His teachers commented that Carver was “a brilliant student and collector.” He worked at the colleges’ experimental station until graduating with a Master of Science degree. He became an expert in field collecting, plant breeding, and plant diseases.

george washington carver college education

An Artistic Side

george washington carver college education

“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world” 

When young, Carver loved to draw and paint pictures. Originally an art student in college, he switched to agricultural studies. Yet, Carver continued to paint all of his life and one of his paintings won Honorable Mention at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Carver also would crochet, knit, and do needlework. Always practical, this enabled him to produce useful items for his friends. He learned how to dye his own thread and fibers with local trees, plants, and clay.

Carver collected local clays and extracted their pigments to make paints good enough to attract commercial paint companies. These paints were displayed in his laboratory and at county fairs. He used these paints in his artwork. He also developed house paint colors to encourage local farmers to improve the appearance of their homes. He arranged different paints into pleasing combinations for ceiling, cornices, and walls. Many buildings on the Tuskegee campus and throughout the area used these paint combinations.

Teaching Others

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom”

Booker T. Washington hired the best and brightest African American professionals to Tuskegee Institute. In 1896, he hired a young teaching assistant, George Washington Carver. They both believed a practical education was the best path to self-sufficiency for African Americans. Hired to head its Agriculture Department, Carver taught for 47 years, developing the department into a strong research center.

Carver spread the self-sufficiency message at schools, farms, and county fairs. Carver believed students learned best by doing. He expected students to “figure it out for themselves and to do all the common things uncommonly well.” Carver developed close personal relationships with his students, farmers, and powerful philanthropist with his engaging and charming talks and publications.

Booker T. Washington realized that Carver was a “great teacher, a great lecturer, and a great inspirer of young men and old men.”

george washington carver college education

Useful Bulletins by G.W. Carver

george washington carver college education

“In painting, the artist attempt to produce pleasing effects through the proper blending of colors. The. Cook must blend her food in such a manner as to produce dishes which are attractive. Harmony in food is just as important as harmony in colors.”   

Carver was a talented and innovative cook. He developed recipes for tasty and nutritious dishes that used local and easily-grown crops. He trained farmers to successfully rotate and cultivate new crops and encouraged better nutrition in the South. Carver developed an agricultural extension program for Alabama that used Tuskegee Institute bulletins. In these bulletins, Carver shared his recipes with farmers and housewives.

During his more than four decades at Tuskegee, Carver published 44 practical bulletins for farmers. His first bulletin in 1898 was on feeding acorns to farm animals. His final bulletin in 1943 was about the peanut. Other individual bulletins dealt with sweet potatoes, cotton, cowpeas, alfalfa, wild plums, tomatoes, ornamental plants, corn, poultry, dairying, hogs, preserving meats in hot weather, and nature study in schools.

His most popular bulletin, How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption ,  was first published in 1916 and was reprinted many times. Carver’s bulletins were not the first American agricultural bulletins devoted to peanuts, but his bulletins were more popular and widespread than others.

Agricultural School On Wheels

Booker T Washington directed his faculty to “take their teaching into the community”

To take lessons to the community, Carver designed a “movable school.” Students built a wagon named for Morris k Jesup, a New York financier who gave Carver the money to equip and operate the movable school. The first one was a horse-drawn agricultural wagon called a Jesup Wagon. Later, a truck still called a Jesup Wagon carried agricultural exhibits to county fairs and community gatherings.

By 1930, the “Booker T Washington Agricultural School on Wheels” carried a nurse, a home demonstration agent, an agricultural agent, and an architect to share the latest techniques with rural people. Eventually, educational films and lectures were presented at local churches and schools. These vehicles were the foundation of Tuskegee’s extension services. 

george washington carver college education

Research For Practical Applications

george washington carver college education

“Soil enrichment, natural fertilizer use, and crop rotation” were Carvers message to students and farmers

From 1915 to 1923, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated planting of cotton. Also, in the early 20th century, the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crops, and planters and farm workers suffered. Together with other agricultural experts, he urged farmers to restore nitrogen to their soils by practicing systematic crop rotation: alternating cotton crops with the planting of sweet potatoes, peanuts, or soybeans. These alternative crops restored nitrogen to the soil and were also good for human consumption. Following the crop rotation practice resulted in improved cotton yield and gave farmers alternative cash crops. He also began research into crop products (chemurgy), and taught generations of black students farming techniques for self-sufficiency. In these years, he became one of the most well-known African Americans of his time.

Always looking for practical solutions from his wide-ranging research, Carver experimented with seeds, soils, soil enrichment, and feed grains. All of his efforts were geared to increasing the self-sufficiency of African American farmers. Ahead of his time, Carver used plant hybridization and recycling the use of locally available technology.

Carver’s research also looked to provide a replacement for commercial products, which were generally beyond the budget of the small one-horse farmer. George W. Carver reputedly discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybean, pecans, and sweet potatoes. These alternative products included adhesives, axel 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.

george washington carver college education

Later Years

“Professor Carvers Advice” – George W Carver’s syndicated newspaper column

During the last two decades of his life, Carver seemed to enjoy his celebrity status. He was often on the road promoting the Tuskegee Institute, peanut, and racial harmony. Although he only published six agricultural bulletins in 1922, he published articles in peanut industry journals and wrote a syndicated newspaper column., “Professor Carver’s Advice.” Business leaders came to seek his help, and he often responded with free advice.

From 1933 to 1935, Carver worked to develop peanut oil massages to treat polio. Ultimately researchers found the massages, not the peanut oil, provided the benefits of maintaining some mobility in paralyzed limbs.

Carver had been frugal in his life, and in his 70s, he established a legacy by creating a museum on his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee to continue agricultural research. He donated $60,000 in his savings to create the foundation.

george washington carver college education

G.W. Carver Last Days

george washington carver college education

Inscribed on Mr. Carver’s tombstone are the words, “He could have added fortune to his fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world”

Upon returning home one day, Carver took a bad fall down a flight of stairs; he was found unconscious by a maid who took him to the hospital. Carver died January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 from complications (anemia) resulting from his fall. He was buried next to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute.

National Recognition and Naming

His work, which began for the sake of the poorest farmers, paved the way for a better life for the entire South and became an inspiration to all.

George Washington Carver was born a slave. Since his owner was Moses Carver and given the first name of George, Carver referred to himself as Carver’s George. This was more a property description than a name. When George left to attend school, he slept in a barn owned by the Watkins family. Of hearing how George referred to himself, Mrs. Watkins told him that was no proper name and declared that henceforth he would be George Carver.

Like the man, Carver High school did not start with that name. The Phoenix Union High School district opted to officially embrace segregation. In 1925, to accommodate African American high school students, a bond issue was passed to erect a new high school building. The new school was named the Phoenix Union Colored High school until 1940 when the school became the Phoenix Colored High School. On January 5, 1943, George Washington Carver Died and a few months later the school took on the name of this distinguished educator, scientist, and innovator. In 1953, educational segregation was ruled unconstitutional in Arizona and the school closed the following year.

Why are so many schools, parks, and other landmarks named in honor of Carver? Carver came to stand as a symbol of the intellectual achievements of African Americans. He brought about a significant advance in agricultural training in an era when agriculture was the largest single occupation of Americans. It is so often said that Carver saved Southern agriculture and helped feed the country. His great desire was simply to serve humanity; and his work, which began for the sake of the poorest black sharecroppers, pave the way for a better life for the entire South and became an inspiration to all.

george washington carver college education


George Washington Carver National Monument orientation video. (NPS Movie 5min)

Our Monument to George Washington Carver

george washington carver college education

“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

The George Washington Carver statue greeting visitors to the Carver Museum is an exhibit all to itself. The sculpture, Mr. Ed Dwight, is an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose works grace various venues around the United States. Among his works are major African American historic figures.

The Carver Statue was unveiled on February 15, 2004, in a ceremony where Governor Janet Napolitano, among many others, addressed the crowd. The artist, Ed Dwight, spoke movingly before the unveiling. There were musical presentations and acknowledgments of many distinguished guests. Visitors who have viewed and photographed the statue have praised its artistry.

The Carver Statue is an artistic achievement and a worthy monument to its namesake. This exquisite work faithfully captures Carver’s delicate features and somehow reflects the genius and hope that defined the man.

Explore Your Next Virtual Exhibit

george washington carver college education

Help Us Preserve Our History!

Donate $1 donate $5 donate $10 donate $25 donate $50, 415 e. grant street phoenix, az 85004, mailing address: po box 20491 phoenix, az 85036-0491, office hours, monday-thursday 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. friday 9:00 a.m.-noon, group tours by appointment only. please call or email us to schedule in advance before visiting. walk-in museum visits not available at this time., get involved, become a volunteer, join our board of directors.

The Carver Museum © 2023. All Rights Reserved. Website Sponsored by Compass CBS . Privacy Policy / Terms of Use

Students & Educators  —Menu

  • Educational Resources
  • Educators & Faculty
  • Standards & Guidelines
  • Periodic Table
  • Adventures in Chemistry
  • Landmarks Directory
  • Frontiers of Knowledge
  • Medical Miracles
  • Industrial Advances
  • Consumer Products
  • Cradles of Chemistry
  • Nomination Process
  • Science Outreach
  • Publications
  • ACS Student Communities
  • You are here:
  • American Chemical Society
  • Students & Educators
  • Explore Chemistry
  • Chemical Landmarks
  • George Washington Carver: Chemist, Teacher, Symbol

George Washington Carver

National historic chemical landmark.

Designated January 27, 2005, at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Commemorative Booklet (PDF)

There is the popular image of George Washington Carver known to every schoolchild in the United States: he was born a slave, worked hard to gain an education and become a scientist, taught at Tuskegee Institute, and became the Peanut Man who discovered myriad uses for the lowly legume. Of course, the story is not that simple. Yet despite criticisms of Carver, there is no denying his role in developing new uses for Southern agricultural crops and teaching poor Southern farmers methods of soil improvement.

George Washington Carver's Early Life

The tuskegee institute, george washington carver and booker t. washington, chemurgy: the agricultural chemist, teacher and mentor, carver as symbol, research notes and further reading, landmark designation and acknowledgments, cite this page.

“George Washington Carver: Chemist, Teacher, Symbol” commemorative booklet

George Washington Carver guarded his image carefully. While he did not write extensively about his youth, he did leave behind snippets describing his hard early years. These writings tell of a poor orphan who sought knowledge and hungered for scientific discovery but who was sickly and weak. Carver's early years were indeed difficult, but he seems to have exaggerated his frailty. For example, in an autobiographical sketch he wrote in 1897, just as he was beginning his teaching career at the Tuskegee Institute, Carver claimed that when he was a child his "body was very feble [sic] and it was a constant warfare between life and death to see who would gain the mastery." Two paragraphs later comes this sentence: "Day after day I spent in the woods alone in order to collect my floral beautis [sic] and put them in my little garden…" 3

In a 1922 sketch Carver wrote "I was born in Diamond Grove, Missouri, about the close of the great Civil War, in a little one-roomed log shanty, on the home of Mr. Moses Carver, a German by birth and the owner of my mother, my father being the property of Mr. Grant, who owned the adjoining plantation." 4 Carver was never clear about when he was born, sometimes writing "about 1865," or "near the end of the war," or "just as freedom was declared." Since Missouri never seceded from the Union, and thus was not in rebellion when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, slavery continued in the state until the adoption of a new constitution on July 4, 1865. So Carver was most certainly born a slave, probably in the spring of 1865. 5

Carver's mother Mary was purchased as a 13-year-old girl in 1855 when Moses Carver decided that the need for help on his 240 acre farm trumped his antislavery views. The youngster knew neither of his parents since his father was killed in an accident before his birth and his mother disappeared under somewhat mysterious circumstances. When Carver was an infant his mother and he were kidnapped by one of the many bands of bushwhackers roaming Missouri during the turbulent Civil War era. A neighbor of Moses Carver was hired to find them, but succeeded only in recovering George, at the cost of one of Moses' finest horses. This meant that the young George would be raised by Moses and Susan Carver on their farm in Newton County, Missouri. Carver spent much of his boyhood assisting Susan with domestic chores, since his fragility apparently meant he could not help Moses with the farm chores. As a boy, Carver learned how to cook, mend, do laundry, and embroider. He also developed an interest in plants and helped Susan with the garden.

The youngster had a keen desire to learn, first by exploring the flora and fauna on Moses Carver's farm and by devouring Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, which "I almost knew… by heart." 6 At the age of 11, Carver left the farm and traveled 8 miles to the county seat of Neosho to attend a school for Black children. For the first time, Carver was in a predominantly African-American environment. Previously, he had lived on the Carvers' farm in relative isolation; he had grown used to solitude and had developed a love of nature. Moses and Susan Carver had served as surrogate parents. But while he continued to return to the farm on weekends, he never lived permanently with the Carvers again.

In Neosho Carver acquired a set of Black "parents," Mariah and Andrew Watkins. He lived in the Watkins' modest three-room house in exchange for helping with household tasks such as laundry. Mariah Watkins appears to have had great influence on her 11-year-old charge. She was a midwife and nurse who had wide knowledge of medicinal herbs, and she was deeply religious. Her influence and the rather eclectic introduction he had had to religion at a little church a mile from the Carver farm imparted in young George a deeply felt but unorthodox and nondenominational faith and a belief in divine revelation. He later testified to the number of revelations he had received, recalling the first as a child when his wish for a pocketknife was answered in a dream in which he had a vision of a knife sticking out a half-eaten watermelon. The next morning, the young Carver found his pocketknife. 7

Carver was eager to learn, but his first attempt at formal school proved disappointing since the schoolmaster at the Neosho knew little more than he did. Not satisfied with basic literacy, Carver decided to move west in the late 1870s, joining Black Americans disillusioned by the failure of Reconstruction in a vast migration to Kansas. For the next decade or so, Carver shuttled among numerous Midwestern communities, attending school fitfully, trying his luck at homesteading for a time, and surviving by using the domestic skills he had learned from Susan Carver and Mariah Watkins.

Sometime in the late 1880s Carver's wanderings brought him to Winterset, Iowa, where he met the Milhollands, a white couple who profoundly influenced his life and who he later credited with encouraging him to pursue higher education. The Milhollands urged Carver to enroll in nearby Simpson College. Carver was hesitant; his one previous attempt at higher education resulted in racial humiliation. He had applied to Highland College in Kansas and had been accepted, sight unseen. When he showed up to register at the all-white college, an official said his acceptance had been a mistake as the school had never admitted a Black person and had no intention to do so. Carver was reluctant to be rejected again.

But the Milhollands persisted and Carver eventually entered Simpson College, a small Methodist school in Indianola, Iowa, that admitted all qualified applicants, regardless of race or ethnicity. One Black person had attended the school before Carver, and there were three people of Asian descent still on campus. The school's Methodist affiliation fostered a deepening of Carver's faith and piety, and the school's open policy had a profound affect on his developing self-identity: "They made me believe I was a real human being," he later wrote. 8 While at Simpson, Carver studied grammar, arithmetic, etymology, voice, and piano. But his main interest was in art, especially painting, in which he had dabbled as a young man. His teacher Etta Budd was at first dubious of Carver's talents, and although she changed her perception of him as an artist, she was skeptical about the chances of a Black man earning a living as an artist. When she learned of his interest in plants, Budd encouraged Carver to study botany and pushed him to enroll at Iowa State, the agricultural college in Ames, where her father taught horticulture.

Budd's suggestion evidently posed a dilemma for Carver. He loved painting, but he shared her doubts about his ability to succeed as an artist, and he wondered whether as a painter he could make a contribution to the welfare of African Americans. Now in his mid-twenties, he had come to believe that he had divinely granted talents that should be used to improve the lot of Black Americans. This, he decided, he could do as a trained agriculturalist.

Besides, while he was giving up a career in art it was not as if he had decided to pursue something in which he had no interest. He had long studied plants and he already had developed skills in raising, cross-fertilizing, and grafting plants. He quickly made an impression on the faculty of Iowa State College, and his professors encouraged him to stay on as a graduate student after his senior year. Working with L.H. Pammel, a noted mycologist, Carver honed his talent at identifying and treating plant diseases.

Carver obtained his Master of Agriculture degree in 1896 and immediately received a number of offers. He was asked to join the faculty of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, a school for Black people in Mississippi. The faculty at Iowa State wanted him to stay and teach. But it was an offer from Booker T. Washington that proved most attractive. Washington had persuaded the trustees of Tuskegee Institute to establish an agricultural school. Since Washington wanted the faculty to remain all Black, and since Carver was the only African-American in the country with graduate training in "scientific agriculture," he was the logical choice. Carver was at first hesitant to go to Tuskegee, but Washington was persuasive and on April 12, 1896, Carver accepted, writing that "it has always been the one great ideal of my life to be of the greatest good to the greatest number of 'my people' possible and to this end I have been preparing myself these many years; feeling as I do that this line of education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom to our people." 9

Back to top

Tuskegee's origins were inauspicious. The school was founded on July 4, 1881, in a one-room shanty near Butler Chapel AME Zion Church with Booker T. Washington as the first teacher and a student body of 30. 10 The actual credit for the school's origins goes to George Campbell, 11 a former slave owner, and Lewis Adams, a former slave who could read and write despite a lack of formal education and who appears to have been a tinsmith, shoemaker, and harness-maker. Adams was approached by W.F. Foster, who was running for re-election to the Alabama Senate and wanted the support of African-Americans in Macon County. Foster asked Adams what he wanted in exchange for delivering votes from Black people. Adams requested Foster's support for an educational institution, and so the Alabama legislature passed a bill to establish a Negro Normal School in Tuskegee.

The initial legislation authorized $2,000 for teachers' salaries but nothing for land, buildings, or equipment. But while the school may have been poor, it had a vision from the beginning. That vision grew out of Washington's experience at Hampton Institute, a Virginia school established during Reconstruction, and it found expression in three objectives. First, Tuskegee was to concentrate on training students to be teachers and educators. Second, many Tuskegee students were taught craft and occupational skills geared to helping them find jobs in the trades and agriculture. And finally, Washington wanted Tuskegee to be "a civilizing agent:" as such education took place not only in the classroom but also in the dining hall and dormitories. Washington insisted on proper behavior and absolute cleanliness on the "Tuskegee plantation." He kept careful watch over Tuskegee's buildings and grounds as well as the dormitory rooms and table manners of faculty and staff.

Under Washington's adroit leadership the school quickly grew, moving the year after its founding to 100 acres of nearby abandoned farmland, which became the nucleus of the present school. Washington won widespread support for the school in both the North and the South. He traveled widely and spoke frequently, and convinced many wealthy and prominent people to donate money. Among the school’s early benefactors were Andrew Carnegie, Collis Huntington, and John D. Rockefeller. Washington was a skilled fund raiser, served as adviser to presidents, and helped found schools throughout the South. But he was not without his critics. W.E.B. Du Bois, for example, took exception to Tuskegee's emphasis on vocational training, arguing that it tended to keep Blacks people in a subordinate role. Du Bois favored stressing traditional higher education.

Washington died in 1915 and the debate over educational philosophy diminished as Washington's successor, Robert Russa Moton moved Tuskegee into a more traditional, degree-granting program with the establishment of a College Department in 1927. In 1985 Tuskegee became a university and now has doctoral programs. Today, the school has 3,000 students on a campus that includes 5,000 acres and more than 70 buildings.

As the most prominent African-American of his day, Booker T. Washington had tremendous influence on southern race relations from 1895 to his death in 1915. Much of this stemmed from Washington's speech at the Atlanta Exposition of 1895 in which he advocated the "doctrine of accommodation." 12 The so-called Atlanta Compromise urged Black people to accommodate to the reality of white control and acquiesce in disfranchisement and social segregation. In return, white people should encourage and reward Black progress in economic and educational development. Washington told Black people "to cast down their buckets" where they were and climb the ladder of economic success through the old virtues of hard work and thrift. "The opportunity to earn a dollar," he said, "in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house." Washington asserted that Black people should for the foreseeable future eschew demanding political and social rights, saying those rights would follow economic independence. "No race," he stressed, "that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized."

Washington's racial philosophy mirrored the times. The abolitionist spirit of the Civil War and Reconstruction had resulted in Black people winning many civil and political rights. But even before the end of Reconstruction in 1877 those rights were being eroded. Over the next 20 years the North and the federal government effectively abandoned protection of the former slaves, leaving it to white southerners to work out racial relationships. The gradual erosion of political and social rights accelerated in the 1890s during the political turmoil of the Populist era, when attempts to forge an alliance of the dispossessed of both races foundered on the race-baiting appeals of the politically entrenched. For the next half-century all white people, regardless of socio-economic status, tacitly agreed to submerge class differences in the interest of racial separation.

George Washington Carver readily accepted Washington's racial philosophy and his program of interracial cooperation in the economic sphere. Carver's own success demonstrated to him the importance of economic development in raising the economic status of former slaves. And since the vast preponderance of southern Black people remained tied to the land, Carver fervently believed that his training as an agricultural scientist had prepared him for Tuskegee.

But in reality Carver was not prepared for Tuskegee. He had spent most of his life living and working around white people; now he found himself in a community of Black people where his dark skin made him suspect among the generally lighter-skinned faculty and students. He came from the North to teach "scientific agriculture" to southern farmers who believed they already knew how to farm. Many on the faculty resented Carver's exorbitant salary of $1,000 a year plus virtually all expenses for a man who did not have a family. At the time, the average salary for a Tuskegee faculty member was less than $400 a year. Some resented Carver's demand, which was met, to have two dormitory rooms, one for him and one for his plant specimens when other unmarried faculty lived two to a room.

Carver expected that as director of the newly created Agricultural Experimental Station he would devote most of his time to research. Washington was not hostile to research, but he also expected Carver to manage the school's two farms, teach a full regimen of classes, serve on numerous committees (a chore Carver particularly disliked), and sit on the institute's executive council as well as insure that the schools water closets and other sanitary facilities functioned properly. Above all, Washington and Carver were very different men who were almost fated to clash. Washington was a pragmatist always in a hurry to get things done; Carver was a dreamer who only wanted freedom to tinker in his laboratory, experiment with plants, or if the spirit moved him, pick up a brush and paint. In addition, the well-organized Washington resented the disorganized, administratively sloppy, and shabbily dressed Carver.

To make matters worse, Carver had a running feud with George Bridgeforth, a subordinate who was not reticent in campaigning for Carver's position. Bridgeforth openly criticized Carver to Washington and the latter appeared to often take Bridgeforth's side and repeated his criticisms to Carver, who found the dispute distasteful. But Carver often refused to accept Washington's suggestions, which the principal admitted were just "a polite way of giving orders." 13 The dispute ran on for years, and Washington careened from trying to satisfy Carver to issuing him ultimatums.

Part of the problem stemmed from Carver's insistence on having a laboratory for his exclusive use and to be relieved of his teaching duties. Washington's response to this was clear: "We are all here," he said, "to help the students, to instruct them, and there is no justification for the presence of any teacher here except as that teacher is to serve the students." 14 Washington tried to placate Carver because he genuinely recognized Carver's "great ability in original research," but he refused to allow the scientist to completely stop teaching. 15 Washington's successor, Robert Russa Moton, who took over in 1915, was more accommodating, relieving Carver of all teaching except summer school.

George Washington Carver believed he had a God-given mission to use his training as an agricultural chemist to help improve the lot of poor Black and white Southern farmers. He did this by teaching farmers about fertilization and crop rotation and by developing hundreds of new products from common agricultural products. In addition to his work as a scientist, Carver served the cause of science, in the words of his chief biographer, "magnificently as an interpreter and humanizer, providing an essential link between researchers and laymen and enabling many to reap the benefits of others' work by helping them to apply it to their own circumstances." 16

Late in Carver's life he became a devotee of the chemurgy ("chem" from chemistry; urgy, Greek for work) movement. The term was used to describe scientists, agriculturalists, and industrialists who were determined to put chemistry to work to find nonfood uses for agricultural surpluses. One of the prime backers of chemurgy was Henry Ford, who Carver variously addressed in letters as "My beloved friend" and "The greatest of all my inspiring friends." 17 Ford visited Tuskegee in 1938, and Carver was Ford's guest in 1940 at the automaker's Georgia estate.

But Carver did not need the imprimatur of Henry Ford or the formal title of a movement to explain his role as a scientist, for in truth Carver dedicated his entire scientific work to the goals later advocated by the chemurgy movement. Carver's laboratory at Tuskegee, almost from the beginning of his tenure at the Institute, developed hundreds of new uses for agricultural products. The need for this resulted in part from Carver's initial success in increasing agricultural productivity on the cotton-depleted, tired, old soils of the South. On the 10-acre experimental station at Tuskegee Carver was able, by using good cultivation practices and rotating soil-enriching plants like cowpeas and beans, to dramatically increase soil productivity.

For example, on a one-half acre plot Carver increased the yield of sweet potatoes in a few years from 40 bushels to 266 bushels. He showed that when he took land on which cotton had been planted, a crop which robs soil of nutrients, and planted nitrogen-fixing legumes, like peas and beans, he was able to increase yields significantly when the land reverted to cotton a few years later. Carver accomplished this without the use of commercial fertilizers, an expense beyond the reach of most poor Southern farmers, many of whom were sharecroppers or tenant farmers. Carver was aware that "every operation" he performed had to be within the reach of a "poor tenant farmer with a one-horse equipment." 18

Carver's successes with planting legumes of course led to his encouraging Southern farmers to turn to these crops. This became even more urgent with the devastation in the early 20th century of the cotton crop due to the boll weevil. But if Southern farmers were to be convinced to grow crops other than cotton (or other traditional staples such as tobacco and rice), there had to be a market for peas, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and the like. This need pushed Carver into the laboratory to work on finding alternative uses for these products. From sweet potatoes, for example, came a raft of new products: flours, starches, sugar, a faux coconut, vinegar, synthetic ginger, and chocolate as well as non-foods such as stains, dyes, paints, and writing ink.

But it was the lowly peanut which made Carver famous. The peanut attracted his attention because it is easy to cultivate, it enriches the soil, and it is a ready source of protein, an especially important consideration since poor Black farmers could not afford meat. From the peanut Carver developed a host of new products: most notably milk, but also butter, meal, Worcestershire sauce, various punches, cooking oils, salad oil, milk, and medicines as well as cosmetics such as hand lotions, face creams, and powder. All together, he discovered more than 300 food, industrial, and commercial products from the peanut. Carver's research on foodstuffs derived not only from his belief that he had to find new uses for agricultural products to encourage farmers to grow them, but also because he saw many of these new products as nutritious additions to the diet of poor southerners. Similarly, he experimented with paints that could be made from Alabama clay since he knew that poor farmers could not afford commercial applications.

But inventing new products and demonstrating how to increase yields were only part of Carver's accomplishments. Intrinsic to his image of himself as a scientist - and as someone destined to assist impoverished blacks to improve their lot - was his role as a disseminator and an interpreter of scientific information. This was a role Carver assumed early on in his tenure at Tuskegee. One example of this was the Jessup wagon which grew out of the need to reach rural dwellers. Teaching modern farming practices and demonstrating new seeds to Black belt farmers proved difficult, despite the best efforts of the Agricultural Extension Station and various conferences, fairs, and the like sponsored by Tuskegee.

Out of this frustration came the idea that if farmers would not or could not come to a school, then the school should go to them. Already, agriculturalists in Europe were experimenting with movable schools. In 1904 Iowa State organized "Seed Corn Gospel Trains," which carried lecturers and demonstration materials to farmers gathered at railroad stations. That same year Washington suggested that Carver outfit a wagon as a "traveling agricultural school." 19 Carver called the idea "most excellent" and funding to equip and operate such a wagon was obtained from New York banker and philanthropist Morris K. Jessup, hence the name of the wagon, and from the John F. Slater Fund.

Tuskegee's traveling school opened for business on May 24, 1906. Carver never operated the wagon, but he drafted plans for it, selected the equipment, drew charts demonstrating farm operations, and suggested lectures on self-sufficient farming, fertilization, and the best crops to grow in various soils. The wagon was so successful that within a few months it was made part of the outreach program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with Thomas Campbell, who had been a Tuskegee student, as operator under Carver's tutelage. The Jessup wagon greatly widened Tuskegee's reach, as Campbell's travels took him farther and farther away from the Institute. Rather than lecture farmers about proper agricultural techniques, Campbell would select a typical farm in a particular region, show the owner proper procedures for increasing yields, and guarantee the owner against losses. The success of these "cooperators" in increasing production then spurred their neighbors to adopt scientific farming methods.

Carver reached an even wider audience through the bulletins he issued as director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Tuskegee. Publishing bulletins was one of the major functions of experimental stations; the bulletins generally reported the findings of station experiments and were usually aimed at agricultural researchers, not farmers. Carver intended his bulletins to bridge that gap; as such, he reported on the results of his experiments, but he also wanted the publications to serve as manuals for farmers. Initially, Carver set a goal of issuing four bulletins a year. He averaged less than half of that, and the number diminished over time, mostly because Carver's experimental station was a one-man operation, and that one man had many other responsibilities. In addition, the station was continually starved for funding.

Washington constantly pressed Carver to issue more bulletins, but in truth the scientist was laboring against impossible odds. 20 He did all the research himself and prepared the manuscripts, including writing, editing, and typing them. He had no stenographer at the beginning and never had a printing press. So, Carver had to have his bulletins printed at the school's printing office, which frequently had no money. Since most of the bulletins were provided free of charge, Carver often had to beg for money to pay production costs.

Still, between 1898 and 1943, the year of his death, Carver issued 44 bulletins, ranging from Experiments with Sweet Potatoes to How to Build up Worn Out Soils to Fertilizer Experiments in Cotton . Some were decidedly practical: How to Cook Peas and Three Delicious Meals Every Day for the Farmer are examples. Virtually all of the bulletins exhibited what Carver called his threefold approach: to supply simple cultivation information for farmers, a little science for teachers, and some recipes for housewives. Carver believed this approach spurred demand; in fact, demand for the bulletins was great, quickly exhausting the supply of two to five thousand copies that were usually printed. Success bred further problems since getting money for reprints was even harder than for the first printing.

But the widest audience Carver reached came in the forum that cemented his fame as "The Peanut Man": his appearance in 1921 before the House Ways and Means Committee as an expert witness on behalf of the peanut industry, which was seeking tariff protection. Carver's testimony did not begin well. He showed up in his usual manner: clean but rather shabbily dressed. Then he fumbled around as he laid out samples of peanut products on the table. He quickly used up his allotted 10 minutes, but his time was repeatedly extended, as he showed and described the vast number of items that could be made from peanuts. He so captivated committee members that he received a standing ovation. More importantly, he convinced the committee that peanuts should be protected, helping to secure a high protective tariff for them. As his biographer wrote, "In less than an hour Carver had won a tariff for the peanut industry and national fame for himself." 21

Carver was so enamored with the potential powers of the peanut that he became convinced the legume had miraculous curative powers. Carver had been introduced to the belief that natural products could cure a variety of diseases as a child while living with Mariah Watkins in Neosho, Missouri. Linked to his belief in the wonders of natural products and herbal remedies was his conviction that massages were beneficial, a belief which stemmed from his days as masseur to the Iowa State football team.

At Tuskegee Carver treated his friends to massages with peanut oil. By the 1930s he became convinced peanut oil could ameliorate the devastating paralysis that accompanied polio. He was certain that peanut oil applied during a massage not only saturated the skin and flesh but actually entered the blood stream and helped restore life to limbs withered by the effects of polio. In 1933 the Associated Press carried a story about Carver's alleged successes with peanut oil massages and, for a time, Tuskegee began to look like Lourdes as paralyzed pilgrims flocked to the Alabama school.

It is not clear just how effective Carver's massages were in treating polio. It is true that many of those treated testified that he had helped them regain at least some use of paralyzed limbs. Certainly, his claims about peanut oil massages do suggest a bit of the charlatan, but it should be pointed out that he never took payment for his treatments and that polio was a crippling disease that each summer seemed to affect more and more people. The fear of polio did not end until the development of an effective vaccine in the 1950s.

Booker T. Washington, who was frequently at odds with Carver, never wavered in his belief that Carver's "great forte is in teaching and lecturing. There are few people anywhere who have greater ability to inspire and instruct as a teacher..." 22 Carver was not a great speaker. He had in fact a rather high-pitched voice. But he was a showman who frequently used dramatic examples and humor to make his points. Most importantly, his success as a teacher stemmed from his obvious enthusiasm for his subject, which was an appreciation of the wonders of nature. It did not matter whether the formal topic was chemistry, botany, or agriculture, for all of these subjects meant studying how to use nature for the benefit of man. Learning was the process of a student moving from what he already knew to the "nearest related unknown" while education was the process of "understanding relationships." 23

Although Carver gave up the formal classroom after 1915, he did not ignore Tuskegee's students. Carver's contacts with students, even in the early years, were never limited to the classroom. He took seriously Tuskegee's goal of educating the total person, and he understood that since many of the first students were just a generation or two removed from slavery, they needed to be taught more than chemistry or agriculture: they needed instruction in how to survive in a competitive as well as hostile world.

Carver emphasized the teacher's responsibility to be concerned with his students both in and out of the classroom. Since he lived in a dormitory, he was accessible to all students, regardless of their field of study. Many students, particularly those who suffered most from poverty and discrimination, flocked to him; they became "his boys." He recognized that white racism often proved an impenetrable obstacle to the success of his students, but he was an optimist and a dreamer and he tried to instill in them his abiding faith in a just universe. This was partly why he taught a Sunday evening Bible class, which was well-attended during the 30 years of Carver's involvement. The class was a labor of love for Carver, an intensely religious man who viewed the Creator as good and saw evil as the result of man's inability to grasp the good. These religious beliefs informed Carver's outlook on white racism.

"Carver's boys" initially were drawn from the Tuskegee student body. But over the years, as his fame and interests widened, Carver came into contact with young men from all over the South, some of whom were white and all of whom frequently sought his advice. Many of these contacts came through speeches Carver gave to the Atlanta-based Commission in Interracial Cooperation and the Young Men's Christian Association. Both groups were committed to furthering interracial harmony, and in his speeches Carver would scan the audience for faces that seemed interested in what he was saying. It was in this way that Carver met Jim Hardwick, a descendant of slave owners. Hardwick had been captain of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute football team and was now looking for a way to be of Christian service. Hardwick became one of Carver's boys and the two had a long correspondence, with many of the letters from Carver addressed to "My Beloved Boy."

Late in his life, Carver wrote a letter to Dana Johnson, another of Carver's protégés, as was his brother Cecil, in which he tried to express how much these young men meant to him. "Not a day passes," Carver stated, "that I do not think of my boys and often wonder just what they are doing." He continued, "It is such an inspiration to me to watch the progress that you and your brother have, and are yet, making, and the future that will doubtless be yours as young aspiring American citizens who must figure into the building up of this great American commonwealth..." 24 For Carver, who never married and had no children, the friendship, love, and dependence of these young men meant as much to him as his advice meant to them.

George Washington Carver: inventor, scientist, agriculturalist, teacher, mentor, and above all symbol. Carver was all of the above at various times; as such, he often eludes easy categorization. Certainly, he was a scientist, but not one who always used the most rigorous methods. He was very successful as a scientist, inventor, and agriculturalist, but he did not measure success by the usual methods. He said: "It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobiles one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank that counts. These mean nothing. It is simple service that measures success." 25 Measured by this standard, Carver was indeed a success.

Carver's ability to develop new products, especially from the peanut, cemented his fame, and that fame spread after his House testimony and his quasi-adoption as the peanut industry's spokesman. In the 1920s a number of newspapers in the South touted his accomplishments and saw him as an example of the New South, a movement that preached a degree of interracial harmony based on economic opportunity for Black people. Carver's multifaceted role as an example of what Black people could achieve by dint of hard work as well as the use of his success by others to promote racial harmony must be remembered in any assessment of him.

Carver's stature as a symbol had become fixed by his later years. Various groups adopted him as an emblem for whatever cause they represented. It is no wonder that the country was quick to make his birthplace in Diamond Grove, Missouri, a national monument, the first such honor bestowed on an African-American.

Research Notes

  • Cited in Gary Kremer, ed., George Washington Carver: In His Own Words (Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press, 1987), p. 1.
  • Cited in Gary Kremer, ed., George Washington Carver: In His Own Words (Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press, 1987), p. 3.
  • George Washington Carver, 1897 or thereabouts, George Washington Carver Papers, Tuskegee Institute Archives, reel 1.
  • Carver, A Brief Sketch of My Life, ibid.
  • Linda McMurry, George Washington Carver: Scientist & Symbol (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 9-10.
  • Carver, A Brief Sketch, Carver Papers, reel 1.
  • McMurry, Carver, p. 18; Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver: An American Biography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1946), p. 19.
  • Quoted in McMurry, Carver, p. 28.
  • Carver to Booker T. Washington, April 12, 1896, Booker T. Washington Papers (online version) vol. 4; p. 159.
  • Washington describes the school's founding and early years in his autobiographical writings, Up From Slavery and The Story of My Life and Work, both of which can be found in the online version of the Booker T. Washington Papers, vol.1.
  • Campbell provided funds frequently in the early years and was initial president of the Board of Trustees. Washington, Up From Slavery, Washington Papers, vol. 1, p. 279.
  • For the text of Washington's Atlanta Compromise speech, see Booker T. Washington Papers (online version) vol. 3, pp. 583-87.
  • Linda McMurry, George Washington Carver: Scientist & Symbol (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 69. This discussion of the relationship between Carver and Washington leans heavily on McMurry's analysis.
  • Washington to Carver, February 26, 1911, Washington Papers, vol. 10, p. 595.
  • Ibid., p. 594.
  • Linda McMurry, George Washington Carver: Scientist & Symbol (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 306.
  • Gary Kremer, ed., George Washington Carver: In His Own Words (Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press, 1987), pp. 159, 161.
  • George Washington Carver, How to Build Up Worn Out Soils, Tuskegee Experiment Station, Bulletin Six (Tuskegee, 1905), p. 4.
  • McMurry, Carver, pp. 125-27.
  • Ibid, p.78. Washington worried that the Tuskegee Agricultural Station would be unfavorably compared with other stations, particularly the one at Auburn University. The station at Auburn was more productive, but the comparison was not fair. By 1913 the Auburn station had thirteen employees and the Alabama State Legislature, which controlled the purse strings of the stations, awarded the lion's share of funds to Auburn. Ibid. Note that the funds to operate the Agricultural Stations came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the USDA gave the money in a block to state legislatures which in turn allocated funds to stations within a state. Given the racial politics of the early 20th century, it was no surprise that most of the money went to Auburn University, not the Tuskegee Institute.
  • McMurry, Carver, p. 174.
  • Washington to Carver, February 26, 1911, Booker T. Washington Papers (online version), vol. 10, p. 594.
  • Linda McMurry, George Washington Carver: Scientist & Symbol (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 97
  • Carver to Dana Johnson, February 14, 1942, in Gary Kremer, ed., George Washington Carver: In His Own Words (Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press, 1987), p. 191.
  • Quoted in Gary Kremer, ed., George Washington Carver: In His Own Words (Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press, 1987), p. 17.

Further Reading

  • Legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver (Tuskegee University)

Landmark Designation

The American Chemical Society dedicated the agricultural chemistry of George Washington Carver a National Historic Chemical Landmark on January 27, 2005. The plaque commemorating the event reads:

George Washington Carver achieved international fame as a scientist and innovator who applied novel chemical insights to agriculture. Born a slave, Carver joined the faculty of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1896 where he developed new products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other crops and conducted experiments in crop rotation and the restoration of soil fertility. Through his research, Carver urged southern farmers to rotate cotton with soil-enhancing crops such as soybeans and peanuts. To improve the lot of poor southern farmers, Carver produced a series of free, easily understood bulletins that included information on crops and cultivation techniques.


Adapted for the internet from “George Washington Carver: Chemist, Teacher, Symbol,” produced by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program of the American Chemical Society in 2005.

American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmarks. George Washington Carver: Chemist, Teacher, Symbol. (accessed Month Day, Year).

Back to National Historic Chemical Landmarks Main Page .

Learn more: About the Landmarks Program .

Take action: Nominate a Landmark and Contact the NHCL Coordinator .

george washington carver college education

Accept & Close The ACS takes your privacy seriously as it relates to cookies. We use cookies to remember users, better understand ways to serve them, improve our value proposition, and optimize their experience. Learn more about managing your cookies at Cookies Policy .

1155 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA |  | 1-800-333-9511 (US and Canada) | 614-447-3776 (outside North America)

  • Terms of Use
  • Accessibility

Copyright © 2024 American Chemical Society

HPL Exhibits

George washington carver: his life, work, and faith.

george washington carver college education

Carver stayed at Tuskegee for the rest of his life, dedicating his time to teaching and researching plants. He focused on plants like peanuts and sweet potatoes that could restore depleted soil and advised farmers to practice crop rotation. His research led to new foods and hundreds of industrial and commercial products.

This exhibit features photographs and documents from the Tuskegee University Archives at Tuskegee University and recently discovered handwritten and typewritten letters on loan from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In these letters, Carver writes to his friend, Miss Vivian Combacker, about his personal life, work, and Christian spiritual values.

george washington carver college education


  search this blog,   recent posts,   subscribe,   archive,   subjects, this post is closed for further discussion..

Days of Learning Curated Collection logo

George Washington Carver

On June 16, 2022, Governor Reynolds signed a bill (SF 2380) that designates February 1 of each year as George Washington Carver Day.

”The governor of this state is hereby authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating the first day of February as George Washington Carver Day and to encourage all governmental entities, civic organizations, schools, and institutions of higher education in the state to observe the day in a manner that emphasizes the meaning and importance of the scientific and agricultural accomplishments and global humanitarian achievements of professor Carver and to acknowledge the Iowa educational institutions, Simpson College and Iowa State University, that allowed George Washington Carver to persevere through racial barriers and fulfill his potential as a human being.”

In honor of George Washington Carver, explore some resources that share Carver’s influence on Iowa and beyond.

State Historical Society of Iowa Resources

Iowa History 101 logo

Iowa History 101 Iowa History 101  is an online learning series that focuses on the past lives of Iowans. The webinars share Iowa stories and the history of the state through a cultural history lens. 

  • George Washington Carver in Iowa  - This webinar, led by Linda Griffith Smith, explored how Iowa was a turning point in George Washington Carver’s life. Happenstance brought him to Iowa with a here-and-there education, but he was a determined, educated young man when he left for Tuskegee University.

Goldie's Kids Club Graphic

Goldie's Kids Club Goldie’s Kids Club  introduces children aged 12 and under to Iowa history – starting with Goldie the eastern goldfinch, the state bird. Each month, a new Storytime and Innovative Iowan activity with a hands-on component and Iowa connection is released.

  • Storytime  - A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki
  • Innovative Iowans  - Etta Budd

Annals of Iowa

The Annals of Iowa The Annals of Iowa is a thought-provoking history journal. Published quarterly, the Annals of Iowa examines the deeds, misdeeds, and accomplishments of our predecessors and demonstrates how those actions fit into the larger mosaic of Iowa's past.

  • Brown, W. L., (1983) “ H. A. Wallace and the Development of Hybrid Corn ”, The Annals of Iowa 47(2), 167-179
  • Kleinman, M. L., (1994) “ Searching for the "Inner Light": The Development of Henry A. Wallace's Experimental Spiritualism ”, The Annals of Iowa 53(3), 195-218
  • Morain, T., (2021) “ To Rattle Dry Bones ”, The Annals of Iowa 80(3), 245–258

The Palimpsest logo

The Palimpsest The Palimpsest was a historical magazine published by the State Historical Society of Iowa beginning in 1920 until it was renamed Iowa Heritage Illustrated in 1996. 

  • Ginalie Swaim, " Iowans at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition: What They Took to the Fair, What They Did There, and What They Brought Back Home ," (1993), 160-187

Iowa Heritage Illustrated logo

Iowa Heritage Illustrated Iowa Heritage Illustrated was a quarterly historical magazine published by the State Historical Society of Iowa between 1996 - 2014. 

  • Harold S. McNabb, Jr., " George Washington Carver: Holistic Scientist for the American South. " (2003), 52-57
  • Matthew Schaefer, " Four Iowans Who Fed the World. " (2003), 50-51
  • Ginalie Swaim, " George Washington Carver: A Life Wrapped Up in Flowers. " (2007), 184-185

The Goldfinch logo

The Goldfinch The Goldfinch: Iowa History for Young People was published quarterly by the State Historical Society of Iowa from 1975 - 2000. Each issue focused on a theme and includes articles, games, photos, and fiction. 

  • " George Washington Carver, " The Goldfinch, Vol. 2, no. 3 (February 1981)

" "

Primary Source Sets Through the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources grant, the State Historical Society of Iowa developed free and downloadable  Primary Source Sets  to help K-12 educators meet the Iowa Core Social Studies Standards. The Sets address national and international history as well as Iowa-specific history. 

  • Population and Land Use
  • Enslavement to the Great Migration

Other Iowa Resources

George Washington Carver stands beside a painting holding a paintbrush.

Art In 1890, George Washington Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, before transferring to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University). Explore Carver’s legacy through art owned by University Museums at Iowa State University.

  • Celebrating George Washington Carver,  University Museums, Iowa State University

" "

Media George Washington Carver’s life has been captured in film and radio. Both Iowa PBS and Iowa Public Radio have explored different aspects of Carver’s life and work.

  • George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life , Iowa PBS
  • The Voice of George Washington Carver,  Rick Fredericksen, Iowa Public Radio

A portrait photograph of George Washington Carver

Archives, Research & Articles Much research has been done about George Washington Carver. Both Simpson College and Iowa State University have special collections dedicated to the work and legacy of Carver. Scholars have used the research materials from the archives to write about Carver's legacy.

  • Iowa State University Archives , Special Collections Department, George Washington Carver Digital Collection
  • Simpson College Archives , George Washington Carver Collection
  • "George Washington Carver - Iowa education sowed the seeds of his Success" , John Skipper, Iowa History Journal Jan/Feb 2023
  • Connection Between Norman Borlaug and George Washington Carver,  Tom Morain, AgBioWorld

National Resources

" "

Tuskegee University Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), one of the largest historically Black universities in the United States, is a private university located in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was officially founded on July 4, 1881, by Booker T. Washington, who recruited George Washington Carver in 1896 to be the Agriculture Director.

  • Tuskegee University Archives , George Washington Carver Collection
  • The Legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver,  Tuskegee University
  • National Historic Chemical Landmark  at Tuskegee University, American Chemical Society

A bust sculpture of George Washington Carver

Archives, Museums & National Parks George Washington Carver’s legacy has been honored through museums, archives and national parks dedicated to his rich agricultural, historical and cultural contributions.

  • The  G.W. Carver Interpretive Museum , Dothan, Alabama
  • George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center , Austin, Texas
  • George Washington Carver National Monument , National Parks Service, Diamond, Missouri
  • George Washington Carver: Agricultural Scientist, Social Activist , The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Dearborn, Michigan
  • The Unwritten Record: George Washington Carver on Kodachrome , National Archives

" "

Books & Websites Throughout time, authors have captured the different aspects and facets of George Washington Carver’s life in print.

  • Gary Kremer,  "George Washington Carver: In His Own Words,"  (University of Missouri Press, 1991)
  • Christina Vella,  "George Washington Carver: A Life,"  (LSU Press, 2015)
  • George Washington Carver , Historic Missourians
  • George Washington Carver: Peanut Products , National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • State Historical Society
  • Iowa Humanities Council
  • Mission & Strategic Plan
  • Boards & Commissions
  • Sponsorship Levels
  • Gala Logistics & Accessibility
  • Weddings & Receptions
  • Facility Rental Details
  • Employment & Internships
  • Renovations
  • Iowa's 175 Anniversary
  • Iowa National Statuary Hall
  • Other Funding Opportunities
  • Field Assistance
  • History Education
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Emergency Resources
  • Local History Network
  • Travel Iowa

Cornell Chronicle

  • Architecture & Design
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business, Economics & Entrepreneurship
  • Computing & Information Sciences
  • Energy, Environment & Sustainability
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Global Reach
  • Health, Nutrition & Medicine
  • Law, Government & Public Policy
  • Life Sciences & Veterinary Medicine
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Coronavirus
  • News & Events
  • Public Engagement
  • New York City
  • Photos of the Week
  • Big Red Sports
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Student Life
  • University Statements

Around Cornell

  • All Stories
  • In the News
  • Expert Quotes
  • Cornellians

Jim Embry

Jim Embry will speak at April 16 at Cornell as part of the Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS) seminar series.

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Activist explores George Washington Carver's work

By matt hayes.

Inventor and scientist George Washington Carver made groundbreaking contributions to agriculture, providing profound insights and valuable approaches for modern sustainability efforts. Recognizing his legacy, the upcoming April 16 seminar titled " George Washington Carver and the Language of Plants: A Vital Pathway to Sustainability " will be led by eco-activist Jim Embry as the keynote speaker.

Embry's presentation, part of the Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS) seminar series, will delve into the practical implications of Carver's work, exploring how his insights can inform and inspire contemporary sustainability initiatives. It will emphasize the intersection of agriculture, sustainability, and social justice. The hybrid seminar is scheduled to take place on April 16 from 2-3 p.m. at the Boyce Thompson Institute auditorium on the Cornell University campus, with the option to register virtually via Zoom .

Embry, founder of the Sustainable Communities Network who regards himself as an agrarian intellectual activist, brings over 65 years of experience as an eco- and social justice activist to our current overlapping and global challenges with a special affection for higher education. Embry, whose collaborative efforts at the local, national and international levels focus on food systems, will offer a critique of conventional notions of sustainability by drawing inspiration from the teachings of George Washington Carver.

Embry's presentation will offer six innovative pathways for building a sustainable future, all rooted in Carver's magnanimous work and vision. Beyond the traditional triad of economics, equity, and environment, Embry will present a transformative perspective on sustainability and emphasize Carver's understanding of the intricate language of plants.

"George Washington Carver's legacy extends far beyond his contributions to agricultural science," Embry said. "His insights into the interdependence of all of the elements of Earth, including plants, offer invaluable lessons for shaping a more just and sustainable world."

Embry, recently honored with the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his lifelong dedication to advocating for sustainable living practices and BIPOC justice, is also working with Ohio State University on the George Washington Carver Science Park, as well as Stanford University on their Sustainability Pathways , Black Framer Tool Kit, and Climate Action Planning . He now guides the Systems Transformation Partnership that is especially focused on engaging higher education.

Embry‘s family has deep connections with George Washington Carver that go back to his great grandfathers’ friendship with Carver during the early 1900s. Embry, now regarded as one the prominent researchers of and advocates for Carvers’ legacy, is using his collaboration with and speaking engagements at Tuskegee University, Ohio State University, Yale University, Stanford University and now Cornell University, to encourage U.S. institutions of higher education to find relevance in and see Carver’s legacy as an essential pathway to a sustainable future.  

Join CROPPS for this enlightening seminar as we explore the connections between plant science, sustainability, and social justice. Don't miss this unique opportunity to gain new insights and perspectives on building a better future.  

The seminar is co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean’s Inclusive Excellence Seminar Series.

Media Contact

Media relations office.

Get Cornell news delivered right to your inbox.

You might also like

george washington carver college education

Gallery Heading

george washington carver college education

The George Washington Carver

Center for the advancement of science education..

The vision of the George Washington Carver: Center for the Advancement of Science Education is to dismantle sources of inequity in STEM, transform STEM teaching and learning for the next generation of learners, families, and teachers using culturally relevant practices and the arts. It is to promote racial equity in STEM teaching and learning, addressing barriers to academic achievement, the STEM workforce and scientific advancement. 

george washington carver college education

Founder & Executive Director

--theresa y. robinson phd.

george washington carver college education

The Carve Science Center’s culturally relevant STEM programming for children, families, and teachers has been planned, developed, and executed through three pillars.

george washington carver college education

Close the opportunity gap and increase academic achievement in STEM education for Black children.

george washington carver college education

Transform communities through advocacy for equity-oriented STEM education policy.

george washington carver college education

Dismantle barriers to racial equity in STEM education and careers for Black students.

The mission of The Carver Science Center is to educate, advocate for and serve the Black community by providing culturally relevant and sustaining, high-quality STEM education to students, families, and teachers. The CSC provides STEM education: a) Helping adolescents navigate beyond negative racial/ethnic stereotypes and bias to make positive, life and community-affirming choices. B) Empowering participants to use technology and engineering to be creative problem solvers. c) Encouraging the use of leadership and critical thinking skills to transform communities through advocacy.

  • Academic excellence
  • Culturally relevant practices

george washington carver college education

Participation in community based STEM societal issues

Science and Math Literacy

Reduction in barriers to participation in the STEM workforce.

george washington carver college education

Samantha Walston

Samantha Walston is a Reading Interventionist....

george washington carver college education

Sherard Jones

Sherard is the President of Strategic Futurist ....

george washington carver college education

Judith Kaminski

Judith Kaminski is a retired education administrator....

george washington carver college education

Dwanda Murphy

Dwanda Murphy is a compliance consultant where.....

The Carver Blog

george washington carver college education

Decolonize STEM Education for Equity and Access

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable

george washington carver college education

How to Improve Science Education for All.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been

Support Our Cause

Stay in touch.

Keep up our latest news and events please subscribe.

© All rights reserved. 2023

George Washington's Education

Despite being the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, the President of the Constitutional Convention, and the first President of the United States, George Washington's level of education was far lower than any of the other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, he was often scorned by some of the other Founding Fathers for this inadequacy. However, this lack of education was not George Washington's fault. Upon the death of George Washington's father in 1743, George's formal schooling ended. He is thought to have attended the nearby grammar school run by Reverend James Marye, the rector of St. George's Parish, up until this time. Therefore, the extent of young George's formal educational training was in basic mathematics, reading, and writing. Although his older half-brothers had the opportunity to gain a formal education over in England at the Appleby School, George was required to take on the responsibility of running the family farm after his father's death. This responsibility was thrust upon George largely by the will of his mother. Because of her decision to end his schooling, George began to resent his mother at an early age. Nevertheless, George took it upon himself to educate himself in as many ways as he could. He read numerous books and tried to commit to memory facts that he deemed to be of relevance. Furthermore, he copied the 110 maxims for gentlemanly etiquette from a book called the Transcript of the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior. This book taught both etiquette for members of the upper colonial class as well as basic moral principles. Undoubtedly, this book proved to be of the utmost importance for the young, ambitious George Washington as he sought to gain favor from the elite members of the Virginia upper class. One of the key principles taught by the Rules of Civility was respect for superiors. George Washington used this principle to advance both his military career as well as his political career. Another important concept proposed by the book was that a colonial gentleman should always put forth an air of sincere humility. Adopting this practice endeared Washington to both his peers and to the public. For example, he always appeared hesitant to accept any great title of fame or of power (such as Commander in Chief or the President of the Constitutional Convention). However, his seemingly humble reluctance to advance his own name only further persuaded those requesting that he take these positions that he was the right candidate to take this position. Therefore, Washington's fiery ambition was hid beneath a shawl of modesty. Beyond his own self-study, Washington received additional training in high culture from his step-brother, Lawrence Washington. Lawrence Washington was able to share with George his own personal experiences with different cultures from his service in the British Royal Navy as well as his time living in England. Beyond his personal experiences, Lawrence was wedded to the daughter of a very influential Virginia family, the Fairfaxes. Lawrence introduced George to the Fairfax family, and Lawrence's father-in-law, William Fairfax, took the young George under his wing as a sort of mentor and surrogate father. George Washington learned much about how colonial high culture from his numerous visits to the Fairfax estate. This informal training was probably more important to George Washington than any formal education he ever received, since it was very important that he be able to associate with the elite members of colonial society in order to further his military and political careers. Despite being disparaged by the other well-educated Founding Fathers, George Washington's informal training did much to advance his career. Even more importantly, though, his seemingly humble, controlled, and respectful demeanor won the hearts of the American people and established him as a national icon.


IPS breaks ground on renovations at George Washington Carver School 87

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Tuesday morning, Indianapolis Public Schools began renovations at George Washington Carver School 87 with a groundbreaking ceremony.

This marked the second phase of upgrades set to take place across multiple IPS facilities this spring, thanks to the Rebuilding Stronger Capital Referendum.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson says the renovations are a perfect way to show their IPS family how much they matter.

“We tell our students and staff all the time how much they matter. Now, because of the generous support from Indy voters, we get to show them, too,” Johnson said in a news release.

In May 2023, voters approved the Rebuilding Stronger Capital Referendum, allocating $410 million to enhance 23 IPS schools, including School 87.

These funds will facilitate the creation of new classrooms, athletic fields, performing and visual arts spaces, a family resource center, upgraded HVAC and plumbing systems, and more. The goal is to cultivate safe, inviting environments where every student can explore their interests.

School 87 Principal Mary Kapcoe says many of the teachers and staff find excitement in being able to provide resources for their incredibly diverse population.

“Being on the west side of Indianapolis, School 87 has a growing population of students who are learning English as a new language, and our teachers and staff are very proud of the support we provide to our kids,” Kapcoe said in a news release.

Renovations for School 87 will include arts and music classrooms for all grades, expansion of general classroom spaces, new office areas for support staff, and enhancement of building security.

Work will start in the spring and continue through 2026. Despite renovations, the school will operate as usual during the 2024–25 academic year.

“The physical condition of a school building says a lot about how much we value what happens within its walls,” Johnson said in a news release. “With the renovations beginning this spring at George Washington Carver School 87 and at many other schools, we’re keeping our promise to ensure every student and teacher in IPS will be in a building that is safe, warm, welcoming, and reflective of a love for learning.”

  • Broad Ripple Middle School to upgrade athletics as part of Rebuilding Stronger

Trending stories

  • Hoosiers add another transfer commit during Woodson’s big week
  • Body of missing kayaker recovered from White River; 2nd body found
  • Mario Andretti offended by F1 rejection. ‘If they want blood, well, I’m ready,’ says 1978 champ
  • Measles may have been spread at Indianapolis event for solar eclipse
  • Roncalli head football coach resigns after two seasons


Pixel Image

cover image


City in moscow oblast, russia / from wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, dear wikiwand ai, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:.

Can you list the top facts and stats about Elektrostal?

Summarize this article for a 10 year old

Best Global Universities for Mechanical Engineering in Russia

These are the top universities in Russia for mechanical engineering, based on their reputation and research in the field. Read the methodology »

To unlock more data and access tools to help you get into your dream school, sign up for the  U.S. News College Compass !

Here are the best global universities for mechanical engineering in Russia

Tomsk polytechnic university.

See the full rankings

  • Clear Filters
  • # 74 in Best Universities for Mechanical Engineering
  • # 879 in Best Global Universities  (tie)

Turn Your Curiosity Into Discovery

Latest facts.

15 Facts About World Health Day April 7th

15 Facts About World Health Day April 7th

8 Facts About International Day Of Light May 16th

8 Facts About International Day Of Light May 16th

40 facts about elektrostal.

Lanette Mayes

Written by Lanette Mayes

Modified & Updated: 02 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Elektrostal is a vibrant city located in the Moscow Oblast region of Russia. With a rich history, stunning architecture, and a thriving community, Elektrostal is a city that has much to offer. Whether you are a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply curious about different cultures, Elektrostal is sure to captivate you.

This article will provide you with 40 fascinating facts about Elektrostal, giving you a better understanding of why this city is worth exploring. From its origins as an industrial hub to its modern-day charm, we will delve into the various aspects that make Elektrostal a unique and must-visit destination.

So, join us as we uncover the hidden treasures of Elektrostal and discover what makes this city a true gem in the heart of Russia.

Key Takeaways:

  • Elektrostal, known as the “Motor City of Russia,” is a vibrant and growing city with a rich industrial history, offering diverse cultural experiences and a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
  • With its convenient location near Moscow, Elektrostal provides a picturesque landscape, vibrant nightlife, and a range of recreational activities, making it an ideal destination for residents and visitors alike.

Known as the “Motor City of Russia.”

Elektrostal, a city located in the Moscow Oblast region of Russia, earned the nickname “Motor City” due to its significant involvement in the automotive industry.

Home to the Elektrostal Metallurgical Plant.

Elektrostal is renowned for its metallurgical plant, which has been producing high-quality steel and alloys since its establishment in 1916.

Boasts a rich industrial heritage.

Elektrostal has a long history of industrial development, contributing to the growth and progress of the region.

Founded in 1916.

The city of Elektrostal was founded in 1916 as a result of the construction of the Elektrostal Metallurgical Plant.

Located approximately 50 kilometers east of Moscow.

Elektrostal is situated in close proximity to the Russian capital, making it easily accessible for both residents and visitors.

Known for its vibrant cultural scene.

Elektrostal is home to several cultural institutions, including museums, theaters, and art galleries that showcase the city’s rich artistic heritage.

A popular destination for nature lovers.

Surrounded by picturesque landscapes and forests, Elektrostal offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and birdwatching.

Hosts the annual Elektrostal City Day celebrations.

Every year, Elektrostal organizes festive events and activities to celebrate its founding, bringing together residents and visitors in a spirit of unity and joy.

Has a population of approximately 160,000 people.

Elektrostal is home to a diverse and vibrant community of around 160,000 residents, contributing to its dynamic atmosphere.

Boasts excellent education facilities.

The city is known for its well-established educational institutions, providing quality education to students of all ages.

A center for scientific research and innovation.

Elektrostal serves as an important hub for scientific research, particularly in the fields of metallurgy, materials science, and engineering.

Surrounded by picturesque lakes.

The city is blessed with numerous beautiful lakes, offering scenic views and recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike.

Well-connected transportation system.

Elektrostal benefits from an efficient transportation network, including highways, railways, and public transportation options, ensuring convenient travel within and beyond the city.

Famous for its traditional Russian cuisine.

Food enthusiasts can indulge in authentic Russian dishes at numerous restaurants and cafes scattered throughout Elektrostal.

Home to notable architectural landmarks.

Elektrostal boasts impressive architecture, including the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Elektrostal Palace of Culture.

Offers a wide range of recreational facilities.

Residents and visitors can enjoy various recreational activities, such as sports complexes, swimming pools, and fitness centers, enhancing the overall quality of life.

Provides a high standard of healthcare.

Elektrostal is equipped with modern medical facilities, ensuring residents have access to quality healthcare services.

Home to the Elektrostal History Museum.

The Elektrostal History Museum showcases the city’s fascinating past through exhibitions and displays.

A hub for sports enthusiasts.

Elektrostal is passionate about sports, with numerous stadiums, arenas, and sports clubs offering opportunities for athletes and spectators.

Celebrates diverse cultural festivals.

Throughout the year, Elektrostal hosts a variety of cultural festivals, celebrating different ethnicities, traditions, and art forms.

Electric power played a significant role in its early development.

Elektrostal owes its name and initial growth to the establishment of electric power stations and the utilization of electricity in the industrial sector.

Boasts a thriving economy.

The city’s strong industrial base, coupled with its strategic location near Moscow, has contributed to Elektrostal’s prosperous economic status.

Houses the Elektrostal Drama Theater.

The Elektrostal Drama Theater is a cultural centerpiece, attracting theater enthusiasts from far and wide.

Popular destination for winter sports.

Elektrostal’s proximity to ski resorts and winter sport facilities makes it a favorite destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.

Promotes environmental sustainability.

Elektrostal prioritizes environmental protection and sustainability, implementing initiatives to reduce pollution and preserve natural resources.

Home to renowned educational institutions.

Elektrostal is known for its prestigious schools and universities, offering a wide range of academic programs to students.

Committed to cultural preservation.

The city values its cultural heritage and takes active steps to preserve and promote traditional customs, crafts, and arts.

Hosts an annual International Film Festival.

The Elektrostal International Film Festival attracts filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from around the world, showcasing a diverse range of films.

Encourages entrepreneurship and innovation.

Elektrostal supports aspiring entrepreneurs and fosters a culture of innovation, providing opportunities for startups and business development.

Offers a range of housing options.

Elektrostal provides diverse housing options, including apartments, houses, and residential complexes, catering to different lifestyles and budgets.

Home to notable sports teams.

Elektrostal is proud of its sports legacy, with several successful sports teams competing at regional and national levels.

Boasts a vibrant nightlife scene.

Residents and visitors can enjoy a lively nightlife in Elektrostal, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues.

Promotes cultural exchange and international relations.

Elektrostal actively engages in international partnerships, cultural exchanges, and diplomatic collaborations to foster global connections.

Surrounded by beautiful nature reserves.

Nearby nature reserves, such as the Barybino Forest and Luchinskoye Lake, offer opportunities for nature enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the region’s biodiversity.

Commemorates historical events.

The city pays tribute to significant historical events through memorials, monuments, and exhibitions, ensuring the preservation of collective memory.

Promotes sports and youth development.

Elektrostal invests in sports infrastructure and programs to encourage youth participation, health, and physical fitness.

Hosts annual cultural and artistic festivals.

Throughout the year, Elektrostal celebrates its cultural diversity through festivals dedicated to music, dance, art, and theater.

Provides a picturesque landscape for photography enthusiasts.

The city’s scenic beauty, architectural landmarks, and natural surroundings make it a paradise for photographers.

Connects to Moscow via a direct train line.

The convenient train connection between Elektrostal and Moscow makes commuting between the two cities effortless.

A city with a bright future.

Elektrostal continues to grow and develop, aiming to become a model city in terms of infrastructure, sustainability, and quality of life for its residents.

In conclusion, Elektrostal is a fascinating city with a rich history and a vibrant present. From its origins as a center of steel production to its modern-day status as a hub for education and industry, Elektrostal has plenty to offer both residents and visitors. With its beautiful parks, cultural attractions, and proximity to Moscow, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this dynamic city. Whether you’re interested in exploring its historical landmarks, enjoying outdoor activities, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Elektrostal has something for everyone. So, next time you find yourself in the Moscow region, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the hidden gems of Elektrostal.

Q: What is the population of Elektrostal?

A: As of the latest data, the population of Elektrostal is approximately XXXX.

Q: How far is Elektrostal from Moscow?

A: Elektrostal is located approximately XX kilometers away from Moscow.

Q: Are there any famous landmarks in Elektrostal?

A: Yes, Elektrostal is home to several notable landmarks, including XXXX and XXXX.

Q: What industries are prominent in Elektrostal?

A: Elektrostal is known for its steel production industry and is also a center for engineering and manufacturing.

Q: Are there any universities or educational institutions in Elektrostal?

A: Yes, Elektrostal is home to XXXX University and several other educational institutions.

Q: What are some popular outdoor activities in Elektrostal?

A: Elektrostal offers several outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and picnicking in its beautiful parks.

Q: Is Elektrostal well-connected in terms of transportation?

A: Yes, Elektrostal has good transportation links, including trains and buses, making it easily accessible from nearby cities.

Q: Are there any annual events or festivals in Elektrostal?

A: Yes, Elektrostal hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including XXXX and XXXX.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.

Share this Fact: world clock

Current time by city

For example, New York

Current time by country

For example, Japan

Time difference

For example, London

For example, Dubai


For example, Hong Kong

For example, Delhi

For example, Sydney

Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

City coordinates

Coordinates of Elektrostal in decimal degrees

Coordinates of elektrostal in degrees and decimal minutes, utm coordinates of elektrostal, geographic coordinate systems.

WGS 84 coordinate reference system is the latest revision of the World Geodetic System, which is used in mapping and navigation, including GPS satellite navigation system (the Global Positioning System).

Geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) define a position on the Earth’s surface. Coordinates are angular units. The canonical form of latitude and longitude representation uses degrees (°), minutes (′), and seconds (″). GPS systems widely use coordinates in degrees and decimal minutes, or in decimal degrees.

Latitude varies from −90° to 90°. The latitude of the Equator is 0°; the latitude of the South Pole is −90°; the latitude of the North Pole is 90°. Positive latitude values correspond to the geographic locations north of the Equator (abbrev. N). Negative latitude values correspond to the geographic locations south of the Equator (abbrev. S).

Longitude is counted from the prime meridian ( IERS Reference Meridian for WGS 84) and varies from −180° to 180°. Positive longitude values correspond to the geographic locations east of the prime meridian (abbrev. E). Negative longitude values correspond to the geographic locations west of the prime meridian (abbrev. W).

UTM or Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system divides the Earth’s surface into 60 longitudinal zones. The coordinates of a location within each zone are defined as a planar coordinate pair related to the intersection of the equator and the zone’s central meridian, and measured in meters.

Elevation above sea level is a measure of a geographic location’s height. We are using the global digital elevation model GTOPO30 .

Elektrostal , Moscow Oblast, Russia


  1. George Washington Carver

    george washington carver college education

  2. The Truth About George Washington Carver's School On Wheels

    george washington carver college education

  3. 10 Things To Know About George Washington Carver

    george washington carver college education

  4. George Washington Carver

    george washington carver college education

  5. George Washington Carver’s Legacy

    george washington carver college education

  6. How George Washington Carver Went From Enslaved to Educational Pioneer

    george washington carver college education


  1. George Washington Carver

    In his late 20s George Washington Carver obtained a high-school education in Kansas while working as a farmhand. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural science (1894) and a master of science degree (1896) from Iowa State Agricultural College (later Iowa State University ).

  2. George Washington Carver: Facts, Inventions & Quotes

    George Washington Carver, born into slavery, was a scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts (but not peanut butter) and other crops. ... Education. At age 11, Carver ...

  3. George Washington Carver: Biography, Inventor, Scientist, Teacher

    George Washington Carver was a Black scientist who invented more than 300 uses for the peanut. Read about his inventions, education, quotes, and more facts.

  4. George Washington Carver

    George Washington Carver (c. 1864 - January 5, 1943) was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was one of the most prominent black scientists of the early 20th century. While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve types of soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton.

  5. George Washington Carver

    George Washington Carver (ca. 1864-1943) was born enslaved in Missouri at the time of the Civil War. His exact birth date and year are unknown, and reported dates range between 1860 and 1865. He was orphaned as an infant, and, with the war bringing an end to slavery, he grew up a free child, albeit on the farm of his mother's former master ...

  6. How George Washington Carver Went From Enslaved to ...

    He didn't begin formal education until he was about 12. Unable to attend the local white people-only elementary school, George left the Carvers farm to pursue his education in Neosho, Missouri ...

  7. In Search of George Washington Carver's True Legacy

    February 21, 2019. Botanist George Washington Carver, seen here in a 1940 photo, donated $33,000 in cash to the Tuskegee Institute to establish a fund to carry on the agricultural and chemical ...

  8. George Washington Carver

    Carver sold his homestead a year later to Fred Borthwick to fund his education. In 1890, Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. ... The Tuskegee Institute was a college established for black students by Booker T. Washington. ... Congress authorized the creation of George Washington Carver National Monument ...

  9. Overcoming Obstacles: George Washington Carver's Pathway to Education

    George Washington Carver as a college graduate (Image 7) George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, c. 1935 (Image 8) Visiting the Site ... Activity 1: Trace George Washington Carver's Education Journey Using the list below, starting after he left Neosho, have students trace on George Washington Carver's travels journey in search of an ...

  10. George Washington Carver

    To George Washington Carver, peanuts were like paintbrushes: They were tools to express his imagination. ... he left to attend school and worked hard to get his education. In 1894 he became the first Black person to graduate from Iowa State College, where he studied botany and fungal diseases, and later earned a master's degree in agriculture

  11. George Washington Carver : The Carver Museum

    George Washington Carver, Born a slave around 1864, became a famous artist, teacher, scientist, and humanitarian. ... feeling as I do that this line of education is the key" George W. Carver. George Washington Carver, NPS. ... In 1890, Carver went to Simpson College Iowa to study art. Although African Americans were not allowed to register ...

  12. George Washington Carver

    George Washington Carver was born around 1864 on a farm in Missouri that belonged to Moses Carver. ... The school didn't provide the best education and so Carver moved towards the midwest where he hopped around and put himself through school with domestic skills. He graduated high school and applied to Highland College where he was initially ...

  13. George Washington Carver

    Designated January 27, 2005, at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Commemorative Booklet (PDF) There is the popular image of George Washington Carver known to every schoolchild in the United States: he was born a slave, worked hard to gain an education and become a scientist, taught at Tuskegee Institute, and became the Peanut Man who discovered myriad uses for the lowly legume.

  14. George Washington Carver: His Life, Work, and Faith

    George Washington Carver (c.1864-1943) was an agricultural scientist and inventor. Although born enslaved, Carver grew up a free child and was encouraged to pursue his education. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees form Iowa State Agricultural College, Booker T. Washington invited him in 1896 to head the Agriculture Department at ...

  15. George Washington Carver

    Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), one of the largest historically Black universities in the United States, is a private university located in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was officially founded on July 4, 1881, by Booker T. Washington, who recruited George Washington Carver in 1896 to be the Agriculture Director.

  16. Activist explores George Washington Carver's work

    CROPPS seminar will delve into the practical implications of George Washington Carver's work, ... to encourage U.S. institutions of higher education to find relevance in and see Carver's legacy as an essential pathway to a sustainable future. ... 312 College Ave Ithaca, NY 14850 607-255-4206

  17. George Washington Carver's Struggle for an Education

    The Carvers did their best to provide George with some education, but by the time he was around 12 years old, his curiosity could no longer be contained. At the age of 12, he traveled to Neosho, Missouri to attend a school for Black Americans. Later, he applied for and was admitted to Highland College in Kansas, only to be turned away when officials saw the color of his skin. This segment from ...

  18. Home

    The vision of the George Washington Carver: Center for the Advancement of Science Education is to dismantle sources of inequity in STEM, transform STEM teaching and learning for the next generation of learners, families, and teachers using culturally relevant practices and the arts. It is to promote racial equity in STEM teaching and learning ...

  19. George Washington's Education

    Therefore, the extent of young George's formal educational training was in basic mathematics, reading, and writing. Although his older half-brothers had the opportunity to gain a formal education over in England at the Appleby School, George was required to take on the responsibility of running the family farm after his father's death.

  20. IPS breaks ground on renovations at George Washington Carver ...

    INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Tuesday morning, Indianapolis Public Schools began renovations at George Washington Carver School 87 with a groundbreaking ceremony. This marked the second phase of ...

  21. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal , lit: Electric and Сталь , lit: Steel) is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Population: 155,196 ; 146,294 ...

  22. Best Global Universities for Mechanical Engineering in Russia

    Germany. India. Italy. Japan. Netherlands. See the US News rankings for Mechanical Engineering among the top universities in Russia. Compare the academic programs at the world's best universities.

  23. 40 Facts About Elektrostal

    40 Facts About Elektrostal. Elektrostal is a vibrant city located in the Moscow Oblast region of Russia. With a rich history, stunning architecture, and a thriving community, Elektrostal is a city that has much to offer. Whether you are a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply curious about different cultures, Elektrostal is sure to ...

  24. Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

    Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia in WGS 84 coordinate system which is a standard in cartography, geodesy, and navigation, including Global Positioning System (GPS). Latitude of Elektrostal, longitude of Elektrostal, elevation above sea level of Elektrostal.