QUESTION: In 1941, Time Magazine described George Washington Carver by what nickname?
A) African-American Michelangelo
B) The Southern da Vinci
C) Peanut Master
D) Black Leonardo
The authors here at the American Treasure Tour blog love to highlight the great variety of elements within the collection. Today, we return to our lithographs, displayed in the Toy Box on the tram route, and honor the great American botanist George Washington Carver. It may seem unusual to recognize the contributions of an expert in plants, but the story of George Washington Carver is much more than that. He was truly a great man, whose life is an inspiration for many. There are challenges in telling his story, though, because no one knows exactly when he was born. He entered the world in the early-1860's as the possession of Moses and Susan Carver in Diamond, Missouri. After the war, the penniless George pursued an education and had to walk ten miles to the closest school that would accept African-American students. Carver overcame racial prejudice throughout his education, until he found a place for himself at Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
It was at Tuskegee where Carver found his home. He headed the Agricultural Department during most of his forty-seven year tenure at the school, and experimented with ways to help poor Americans sustain themselves and replenish their soil after cotton had destroyed the nutrients in them. His advocacy of crop rotation incorporating nutrient-rich peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes made Carver famous. He researched and developed countless uses for these crops that continue to be used today. Notably, Carver did not develop peanut butter, the invention he is most closely associated with today. That came from the Aztecs four hundred years before him. Carver lived his life modestly in a two room apartment on the Tuskegee campus, but by the time he passed away in 1943 around eighty years of age, he was one of the most famous African American men in the entire United States.
ANSWER: D) Black Leonardo