George Washington Carver's Greatest Contributions


George Washington Carver has several accomplishments to his name. Born into slavery in 1864, the brilliant mind would pursue an education at an early age and eventually graduate from the Iowa State Agricultural School (now Iowa State University). After getting his master's degree in agriculture, he would go on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University).

The agricultural scientist and inventor is well-known for all of his work involving the peanut, developing over 300 products from the food item, including milk, oils, paper, cosmetics, paste, and medicines. Most of these discoveries and suggestions never found widespread applications, however.

"The Peanut Man" has made other fascinating contributions during his time. Here are some other notable achievements or actions by Carver.

Crop rotation

Besides his peanut-related [work], one of Carver's star achievements was his specific method of crop rotation. He learned through his research in soil chemistry that years of cotton farming has depleted the soil of nutrients. As a result, there was a lower yield for other planted products.

So, Carver proposed growing nitrogen-fixing plants like peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. Not only did this restore the soil, but the land's yield was increased dramatically for future crops. This is also why he started experimenting with peanuts -- there was a surplus of them!

Assisting the Indian people

While Carver became a minor celebrity and celebrated Black-figure from his accomplishments, he dedicated the rest of his life to helping others. One notable example was his travel and contribution to India.

He advised Mahatma Gandhi on nutrition and agriculture, as well as released bulletins to the Indian public between 1898 and 1943, according to History. These bulletins would report on research findings, practical farming applications, and cultivation methods for farmers and teachers. There were also recipes included for housewives.

His firsts!

Carver also has some firsts attached to him. When he got his bachelor's degree, he was the first Black American to earn a bachelor's of science degree. Following his death in January 1943, Congress passed a bill authorizing the establishment of the George Washington Carver National Monument in Southwest Missouri.

According to the National Park Service, "this was the first time in United States history that a birthplace site was designated as a national monument to someone other than a United States president, and the first time a unit of the national park system was established to honor the contributions of an African American."

Photos: Getty Images


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