05 January 2017

#GWCRD: George Washington Carver Recognition Day! #Peanuts #SweetPotatoes #STEM #ChildhoodHero

As an asocial geeky little girl, I gravitated toward the life stories of those who used their intelligence and ingenuity to overcome adversity and contribute to society. (I've mentioned my esteem for Ben Franklin in this vein before, but) This day belongs to a man who held particular significance in my juvenile mind. Today is George Washington Carver Recognition Day. Salute!
Born into slavery in the Deep South (Missouri), Carver became an inventor who made lasting contributions to the field botany, in part by promoting alternative crops to cotton that would allow poor farmers to not only provide food for their tables, but also provide products that could improve their quality of life. (Because he spent a good deal of his life at Tuskegee University in Alabama, which is only a hop, skip and a jump away from my native Georgia, I read a children's version of his biography at quite a young age. His extensive use of crops like peanuts --- a mainstay in Georgia's agriculture --- and sweet potatoes, which were very familiar to me as a poor rural Southerner only heightened my interest.) He also took a lead in advocating environmentalism. George Washington Carver was a man ahead of his time. Thank goodness.

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