George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver and fellow faculty at Tuskegee Institute.


Above is a picture of the famous inventor and botanist George Washington Carver. He can be seen in the front row at the very center of this picture, taken in 1902 at the Tuskegee Institute.

Carver was born a slave in the 1860’s (the exact date is unknown) on a plantation in Missouri. After being separated from his parents at a young age, George and his brother James were raised by their owners who now treated them like the two were their own children. When slavery was abolished, the pair took on the last name of their new parents, the Carvers. George grew up being trained to hone his keen intellect and was well educated in the fields of science and agriculture. Botany, though, became his primary field of study. He earned a Masters’ Degree in this field and went on to teach agricultural studies for 47 years at the now famous Tuskegee Institute.

The Institute was started by Booker T. Washington as a place of higher education for all African-Americans. Carver helped to bolster the school’s reputation because of his multiple fantastic achievements in agricultural studies. His most famous work is the discovery of the benefits of crop rotation. Carver was able to prove that the soil was being hurt by the multiple plantings of cotton every year and suggested that planting different crops that used the soil in different ways would help it to keep its nutrients. His work is now regarded as a fundamental part of agriculture and crop rotation has become a very common process on farms. George Washington Carver passed away on 1943, leaving behind an agricultural system bettered from his incredible discoveries.