“All mankind are the beneficiaries of his discoveries in the field of agricultural chemistry. The things which he achieved in the face of early handicaps will for all time afford an inspiring example to youth everywhere.” President Franklin Roosevelt
During Black History Month, Connexus honors George Washington Carver, whose work in agriculture still benefits farmers worldwide. Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, in 1894, and he earned a Master of Agriculture in 1896, resulting in an offer from Booker T. Washington to start a school of agriculture at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
While at Tuskegee, his focus became improving the fortunes of poor Black sharecroppers by improving soil conditions on southern farmland that had been depleted by continuous cultivation of cotton. He developed a useful crop rotation of cotton, peanuts, and sweet potatoes that significantly improved the soil and yields and also offered additional sources of revenue and sustenance to farmers.
Carver was widely recognized and honored during his lifetime. He testified to Congress about the benefit of peanuts. Thomas Edison tried to hire him away from Tuskegee to work in his labs, offering Carver a $100,000 per year salary, the equivalent of $1.6 million today. But Carver remained at Tuskegee until his death in 1943.
George Washington Carver greatly contributed to agriculture, and we are delighted to celebrate his achievements!