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George Washington Carver

Born in 1860 - Died in 1943


George Washington Carver<BR>
George Washington Carver was born in Missouri on the Moses Carver plantation. His parents were slaves. His father died right before George was born, then while he was still a baby, slave traders kidnapped him and his mother. Only George was returned to the plantation.

When he was a baby, he had a disease called whooping cough.* It left him sickly and he couldn't do hard work like the other slaves. His chores were cooking and sewing. He loved to work in the garden.

He taught himself to read. His family was so poor, he couldn't afford to buy a pencil, so he made a holder and used a pencil that was only 1/4 inch long.

He wanted to get an education. When he was 12 years old, he left home to attend a black school. There was only one teacher with 75 children in a small room. While other children played at recess, he studied. He studied at home before and after he did his chores. Soon he knew more than his teacher.

He wrote to a college to enroll and they accepted him, but when they found out he was black, they told him he couldn't attend.

After five more years, when he was 30 years old, he was accepted at a college in Iowa. He did so well, his teacher helped him to get a transfer* to Iowa State College where he studied botany.* He learned about plants and farming. He became the best botany student on campus.

picture2
He did many things to earn money to pay for his expenses. He sold hominy which he had made, and sometimes he ironed clothes for his classmates. He found an old stove at the city dump and brought it home to cook meals for his friends. He used old wrapping paper for notebooks.

"Don't throw anything away," he would say. "Everything can be used again."

After he graduated, they asked him to teach biology* to the beginning students.

Later he was asked to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Carver started studying diseases which were attacking the farmers' crops. He also did a lot of experimenting to find new ways to use different plants. He made more than 300 products from peanuts. He even made soap and ink from peanuts. From sweet potatoes, he made 118 products, including flour and candy. He made 75 products from pecans and even made a building material for walls from cotton stalks. He had many good ideas!

picture3
Later in his life, Thomas Edison offered him $100,000 a year to come and work for him, but he thought he could do more good at Tuskegee.

He made his students work hard, and he insisted they do each experiment right. If they told him they had done something "about right", he would say, "Don't tell me it's 'about right'. If it's 'about right', then it's wrong."

Money, stylish clothes, and fine cars were not important to him. He thought the truly successful person was the one who had learned to serve others.

He was one of the finest scientists the world has ever known.

(Some list Carver's birth year as 1864. His exact birthdate is unknown. We have listed it as 1860 because according to a Missouri 1870 census Carver was 10 years old at the time.)

Photo of Carver in his laboratory courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.

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Dictionary

From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster

(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)

whooping cough
Function: noun
a disease especially of children that is caused by a bacterium
and is marked by severe attacks of coughing often followed by a
shrill gasping intake of breath -- called also pertussis

transfer
Pronunciation: tran(t)s-'fər, 'tran(t)s-"fər
Function: verb
to move to a different place, region, or situation;
especially : to withdraw from one school to enroll at another...

botany
Pronunciation: 'baht-ən-e, 'baht-ne
Function: noun
a branch of biology dealing with plant life...

biology
Pronunciation: bI-'ahl-ə-jE
Function: noun
a branch of knowledge that deals with living organisms and life processes...


Research Links

George Washington Carver National Monument

Lesson Plan - George Washington Carver

The Legacy of George Washington Carver
Iowa State University

George Washington Carver
at Wikipedia

George Washington Carver
products he developed

George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri
pictures at Flickr

George Washington Carver Lesson Plan
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George Washington Carver
printable book

George Washington Carver color book
printable book from the USDA.


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Library

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Order the following books from Amazon.

George Washington Carver
by Rackham Holt (public domain, full view)

George Washington Carver, Scientist and Symbol
by Linda O. McMurry (selected pages)

George Washington Carver
by Andy Carter, Carol Saller (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver
by Vicky Franchino (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver
by Martha E. H. Rustad (selected pages) Order here

A Picture Book of George Washington Carver
by David A. Adler (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, A Life of Devotion
by Robin Nelson (selected pages) Order here

A pocketful of goobers: a story about George Washington Carver
by Barbara Mitchell (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, Scientist and Inventor
by Judy Monroe (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver
by Rebecca Gomez (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, The Life of the Great American Agriculturist
by Linda McMurry Edwards (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, Bio Graphics
by Joeming W. Dunn (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, America's Scientist
by Renee Taft Meloche (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, Agriculture Pioneer
by Stephanie Macceca (selected pages) Order here

The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver
by Cheryl Harness (selected pages) Order here

Crafts That Celebrate Black History
by Kathy Ross (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver: Scientist, Inventor, and Teacher
by Michael Burgan (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, Super Scientist
by Carole Marsh (selected pages) Order here

Peanutman A Visit from George Washington Carver (Drama)
by Frank Higgins (selected pages) Order here

George Washington Carver, Ingenious Inventor
Online book by Nathan Olson (selected pages)

Great Americans George Washington Carver,
Online book by Barbara Kiely Miller (selected pages)

George Washington Carver,
Online book by Matt Doeden, Tad Butler (selected pages)

George Washington Carver, The Life of the Great American Agriculturist
Online book by Linda McMurry Edwards (selected pages)

George Washington Carver, Teacher, Scientist, and Inventor
Online book by Lori Mortensen, Niamh O'Connor (selected pages)

George Washington Carver,
Online book by Margo McLoone (selected pages)

George Washington Carver, What Do You See?
by Janet Benge, Geoff Benge (selected pages)

Credits and Solutions

Picture in uniform used with the permission of
Iowa State University Library/University Archives

Coloring picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin

* Word Match Solution

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2013-01-16
That's good. Real good.
2012-12-11
I wish that there was a work cited so i could easily cite this.
2012-04-17
thank u so much i love this u help me wit my report
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2012-02-18
thank you so much i love this website it helped me a lot with a project i was doing for black history moth for science
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2012-02-09
thanks so much
2011-09-12
Thank u 4 dis website it helped me a lot with my ag. project. <3 u gal!
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