George Washington Carver
Birthplace: Diamond Grove, Mo.
After a university in Kansas refused to admit him because he was African American, George Washington Carver attended Simpson College before transferring to Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University), from which he earned a B.S. degree in agricultural science, and an M.S. degree in 1896. Carver's fame is closely associated with Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute), of which he became the director of agricultural research in 1896, and where he remained until his death in 1943. Carver revolutionized southern agriculture by introducing peanut, soybean, and sweet potato production to replenish nitrogen in the soil, which had been largely depleted by cotton growth. When southern farmers grew peanuts and soybeans and found a limited market for them, Carver set to work developing commercial applications for them, creating more than 300 peanut-based products, including milk, cheese, flour, ink, dyes, wood stains, soap, and cosmetics. In addition he developed 118 sweet potato-based products, including vinegar, molasses, rubber, ink, and postage stamp glue. Shortly before his death in 1940, Carver donated his entire savings to Tuskegee to found the Carver Research Foundation, for research in agriculture.Died: 1/5/1943