“Start where you are, with what you have. Make something out of it and never be satisfied.”
–George Washington Carver
(July 24, 1931)
George Washington Carver the world’s greatest agricultural scientist of the 20th century and perhaps the most accomplished American of the 20th century. Over the years I have given countless lectures on the life of George Washington Carver and before ending my talks I always remind my audience that in my world George Washington Carver without any doubt is the most accomplished American of the 20th century. I speak mainly to black audiences and too often some wanna be black intellectual will take issue with my claim, this same joker, or these same jokers only know what they have been taught in white schools. White schools that have failed black children for the past 100 years or more, telling the true history and legacy of black Americans has never been the mission or fundamental purpose of the white school system. The jokers I speak of have no clue who George Washington Carver really was; George Washington Carver has no equal in stature by any man black or white in the 20th century.
Why do I speak with such confidence?
Well for one thing I am one of the top scholars in the world on the life of George Washington Carver, I hasten to add the beloved Dick Gregory could have written a number of great books on Carver as well. While Dick Gregory was alive I did not know who knew more about Dr. Carver, him or me, but it was never an important issue for either of us. Many years ago when I was a professional stage actor in New York City I was approached and asked to portray George Washington Carver in a an Off-Broadway stage play. I took on the role gladly and during my research on the man I thought my head would explode. I was transformed!
I continued my study of the great George Washington Carver long after the play was over and I retired from the theatre’, however since that time I have read over a thousand essays on George Washington Carver and every single book ever written on the man. I have read the works of scholars from all over the world, so I speak with authority and supreme confidence from my over thirty years of study and for this reason I do not need popular approval from wanna be talking heads who think themselves intellectuals of the first order. Any black American who lacks the knowledge of the true history of his or her people is a clown, a joker, a fool who proves to be an empty bottle of hot air which serves no need or purpose to anyone.
The accomplishments of George Washington Carver are really too many to list, but let me give you a few that stand out in my mind. George Washington Carver had 325 global products made from peanuts alone. George Washington Carver had 155 global products that were made from “Sweet Potatoes.”
George Washington Carver invented shoe polish; shoe wax. During World War I George Washington Carver replaced textile dyes that were being imported from Europe and he was able to produce over 500 different shades for the U.S. Military. In 1927 George Washington Carver invented a process for producing paints and stains from soybeans. George Washington Carver has had a long history for serving his country, why in 1918 he was called before Congress to help save the crops of Southern farmers; during his talk Thomas Edison was in the audience and afterward Thomas Edison asked George Washington Carver to come work for him at a yearly salary of $100,000 with a guaranteed signing bonus of $200.000.
George Washington Carver refused the money.
He did however give away many ideas and products to Thomas Edison without any expectation of compensation. He gave away ideas to Henry Ford; and actually showed him how to start what we now know as a Plant–being the structure for assembly for mass production. George Washington Carver dedicated his life to helping uplift the life of Black Americans through education at the Tuskegee Institute. He taught at Tuskegee for 47 years up until the very day he died.
Today if you took a poll and asked who was the most accomplished black American of the 20th century many would say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I stand at the opposite end of the room and as a scholar and someone who loves history I would say take a very good, very hard look at the life of George Washington Carver.
Let’s look at the life of both these men?
First off, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Had great parents, I mean this man had a great mother and father. The resources that were provided to young Martin Luther King Jr. one would be hard pressed to find in a normal upper middleclass family. Martin Luther King Jr. never went to bed hungry and he was never without shoes on his feet. He had great role models to help shape him (Dr. Benjamin Mays) and all the gifts that one can bestow on a young man who grew up as a prince.
Now let’s look at the beginnings of George Washington Carver.
Let’s see now, he was born into slavery.
He was traded for a broken down race horse as a slave boy.
He was castrated by his white slave owner.
He was not allowed to attend white schools.
He does not have a single role model to follow.
He never knew his father.
George Washington Carver did not even know the actual date of his birth.
How does one overcome such injustice?
All the crap that can be heaped on a life was put on the shoulders of George Washington Carver and somehow this man came out on top. I tell you the truth, George Washington Carver is the most accomplished American of the 20th century!
In 1938 Hollywood made a movie called, “Life of George Washington Carver.”
Did you know… George Washington Carver is the only American that has two US Naval Ships named after him?
Did you know… George Washington Carver is the only American that has two US Postage Stamps in his image?
Did you know… George Washington Carver has a 50-cent coin of his likeness with a value of $1,000?
Did you know that… more schools in America are named after George Washington Carver than any other American living or dead?
George Washington Carver passed away on a cold morning of January 5th 1943.
I speak as a man who truly loves the legacy and remarkable life of the great George Washington Carver, and please, if you know of a person more accomplished in the 20th century please let me know, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve made this offer 1,000 times and still I wait…
President of George Washington Carver Society