Cornerstones of Black History--George Washington Carver - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/04/03

Cornerstones of Black History--George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver George Washington Carver

The peanut is one of Georgia's largest crops, and it made George Washington Carver famous. When you hear the name, most people immediately think about peanuts, but you probably didn't know about his extensive work with sweet potatoes and pecans.

His research developed 325 products from peanuts, 108 applications for sweet potatoes, and 75 products derived from pecans. He developed processes for manufacturing paper, ink, shaving cream, linoleum, synthetic rubber, and plastics. In all, more than 300 consumer and industrial products.

Carver's peanut milk saved the lives of hundreds of babies in West Africa. In spite of being born a slave in Mississippi, he went on to earn a masters degree from Iowa Agricultural College while working as a janitor at the school. His expertise was sought all over the world even by Mahatma Ghandi and Joseph Stalin. Though he was offered large salaries to work for Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, Carver chose to work for the improvement of the quality of life for the disenfranchised, saying, "If I took that money, I might forget the people."

Reported by: Dawn Baker, dbaker@wtoc.com

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