7 December 2012
The Forgotten Scientist
Who is George Washington Carver? What was he known for? What did he accomplish? Was he even famous? These are the questions I get when I bring up George Washington Carver around some of my friends, and even some adults. His accolades and accomplishments often go unrecognized, and quite frankly it’s ludicrous. How can somebody who meant and did so much for the scientific agriculture field get swept under the rug and forgotten? His discoveries are legendary and still being felt throughout the agricultural world today. My argument to you the people is that George Washington Carver was not only one of the most famous African American inventors of his time, but also one of the most famous inventors of the 20th century, black or white. Hopefully by the end of this proposal you will understand the gist of his discoveries.
George Washington Carver was ahead his time. The type of research he was doing with the peanut, and the soybean was unheard of during the early 1900s. Carver showed signs of being connected to plants when was young. He was born in Diamond Grove, Missouri. The year and the exact date are unknown, but people speculate that he was born between 1860 and 1864. When Carver was a young lad he was often sick, and physically unable to work in the field. So he worked in the house and often had time to go out and enjoy nature. According to the National Peanut Board, “He was left with many free hours to wander the woods — collecting rocks and flowers, and beginning a lifelong love affair with nature” ("National Peanut Board"). Thus a love between Carver and nature was born. With that love for nature came curiosity. He said,” I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast. I wanted to know where it got its color, where it got its life - but there was no one to tell me” ("Brainy Quotes") .He started to plant his own plants and crops. He even helped treat the plants around the field. The more he was around nature the more fascinated he became. “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in” ("Brainy Quotes"). All this got him nicknamed “the plant doctor”. This was the beginning to a long and very gratifying career.
Carver took all educational opportunities seriously, and is quoted as saying, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom” ("Brainy Quotes") .Now with this love for plants he wanted to go off to school and get an education. About the age of twelve he left the field in hopes of gaining an education. Black Inventors describes as rocky quoting, “His master sent him to Neosho, Missouri for an early education and graduated from Minneapolis High School in Kansas. He eventually mailed an application to Highland University in Kansas and was not only accepted but also offered a scholarship. Happily, George traveled to the school to accept the scholarship but upon meeting George, the University president asked "why didn't you tell me you were a Negro?" and promptly withdrew the scholarship and the acceptance” ("Black Inventors"). It’s sad to see how racism almost cost him his education. Soon afterwards, in 1890, he got accepted in to Simpson College in Iowa. He didn’t go there to be a scientist; he actually went there to study piano and art. Eventually his love for science took over, so he transferred to Iowa Agriculture College, which is now known as Iowa State University. He was a great student during his time there; and when he graduated in 1894 he was offered a position as a part of the faculty. Carver was the first black to ever receive such a marvelous offer. In 1896 he received his Master’s Degree in Agriculture. In 1897 he discovered two funguses that would later be named for him. After Craver graduated, his best work was still in the future, and it all started with this life changing offer....