Sunday August 31, 2014
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07-077 George Washington Carver II

Sunday Aug 31, 2014

Lead: In 1896 agricultural scientist George Washington Carver received a unique invitation. It came from American educator Booker T. Washington.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: George Washington Carver had just been appointed to the faculty of Iowa State College - the school's first African American faculty member. Carver already had a national reputation in the field of agricultural research. Washington asked Carver to come to Alabama to create the agriculture program at Tuskegee Institute. "I cannot offer you money, position or fame. The first two you have... These... I ask you to give up. I offer you in their place: hard work, the task of bringing a people from degradation, poverty, and waste.... Your department exits only on paper and your laboratory will have to be in your head." Carver spent the rest of his life at Tuskegee.

Carver devoted his career to improving the lives of southern sharecroppers, mostly African Americans - many of whom were in debt due to failure of cotton. For over a century farmers in the south had taken little care for their land. They had planted and planted and planted with little concern for the depletion of nutrients in the soil and, in 1905, attacks from the boll weevil decimated the entire cotton harvest for several years.

Carver first promoted and taught "crop rotation." He discovered that planting legumes, peas and peanuts restored nitrogen to the soil and eventually nursed it back to health. Carver worked to promote the nutritional value and the industrial uses of peanuts, developing 325 uses for the peanut from cooking oil to shampoo. He also developed over 100 uses for the sweet potato and other plants native to the south. Today the peanut is a cash crop. George Washington Carver died in 1943 at the age of 79, leaving his life savings to Tuskegee Institute.

The Producer of A Moment in Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.


Benitez, Mirna. George Washington Carver: Plant Doctor. Milwaukee: Raintree Publishing, 1989.

Carey, Charles W. George Washington Carver.

Holt, Rackham. George Washington Carver: an American Biography. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1943.

"The Legacy of George Washington Carver," Iowa State University Web,

McMurry, Linda O. George Washington Carver, Scientist and Symbol. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Micucci, Charles. The Life and Times of the Peanut. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

National Park Service George Washington Carver Monument,

Copyright 2014 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.


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