George Washington Carver Trailblazer for All Americans

One of the world’s greatest scientists of the 20th century was George Washington Carver.
George Washington Carver was born into slavery around 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri a frail and sickly child most of his young life. He was so ill suited to work in the field that his owner traded
young George for a broken down race horse. I often wonder how this boy could ever dream of being
free and educated. The harshness of his existence and the nonexistence of a single role model baffles
the mind.I began to study the life of this great agricultural genius in 1984 when I was asked to portray him in an Off-Broadway stage production called “Carver.” In preparing for my role I discovered the most exciting subject I had ever read about up until that time and even now; no one has overcame more hardships than this quiet humble man known the world over as the wizard from Tuskegee.

The accomplishments of George Washington Carver are too many to list, but I’ll try to give you some of the things that stand out in my mind.George Washington Carver had 325 global products made from Peanuts and he had 155 global products that were made from sweet potatoes.

In 1918 the great inventor Thomas Edison offered George Washington Carver $200,000 to come work for him at an annual salary of $100,000 per year.

During WWI he worked to replace the textile dyes that were being imported from Europe. He ended up
producing over 500 different shades. In 1927 he invented a process for producing paints and stains from soybeans.George Washington Carver is the only American that has two naval ships named after him.
He is also the only American to have two U.S. postage stamps and a fifty-cents coin in his image.
There was a Hollywood movie made in 1938 called, “Life of George Washington Carver” and in
1942 Henry Ford erected the George Washington Carver Cabin Museum.

If you were to take a poll and ask who is the most accomplished Black American, many would say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the greatness of Dr. George Washington Carver; when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was asked about the men he most admired there were only four and George Washington Carver was at the head of the list. Rightfully so, because George Washington Carver did not have anyone before him to lead the way… no there was no NAACP, no Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. no John or Robert Kennedy, no he had not a single role model to follow. A slave boy with a dream and the resolve to make all his dreams come true. No young person today has an excuse not to be what they dream of being, no, just look at the life of George Washington Carver and you will know that there is a way if there is the will.

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