African-American Achiever George Washington Carver

  • Cast Number: 1
  • Run-time: 5 minutes
George Washington Carver was an early African-American achiever who played a vital role in the early years of improving agriculture, particularly peanuts and sweet potatoes, and of laying the path for future generations of minority achievers. His contributions to agriculture, and to betterment of African-American conditions are immense. But Carver’s strong Christian faith made him known as "Man’s Slave, God’s Scientist"

Props: large scrapbook

Sample of script:

actor comes on stage carrying large book, flips pages, shakes head, amazed

What do you call a person who invents a total of 325 products as diverse as milk substitute, face powder, printer's ink, soap, flour, shoe polish, candy, synthetic marble, fuel briquettes, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, talcum powder, and paving material?

Well obviously you would call that person an inventor, perhaps a genius.

But in the southern United States you would more likely just call that person . . George Washington Carver!

And this man did more, much more! Likely more than any other person Carver was responsible for developing peanut production into a thriving and profitable business for the farmers of southern United States. And he was also instrumental in developing sweet potatoes into a huge cash crop. So to say Carver revolutionized US agriculture is an understatement.

Born a slave just prior to emancipation on the Moses Carver plantation in Diamond Grove, Missouri, George Washington Carver’s father died shortly before his birth, and he and his mother were captured by slave raiders. Moses Carver ransomed back the infant child, raised George and his brother as their own children. Illness plagued young Carver, and he developed an interest in plants, becoming known as the "Plant Doctor" for his skill in caring for plants.

Carver longed for learning and he was able to attend Simpson College in Iowa, to study music and art as that school's first black student. He had great talent in both areas, but was singled out by a teacher for his scientific and horticultural ability. At her urging, Carver was the first African American to enter the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which later became Iowa State University. Carver earned his bachelor's and maste’s degree while working as the school's janitor, after which he became the school's first black faculty member. Booker T. Washington next called him to join the faculty of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

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