Carver Celebrates Black History Month

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Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and in the Netherlands (as of 2016) where it is known as Black Achievement Month. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, as well as in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in October.

Of course, the Carver community is especially proud of its namesake, George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943). He was an American botanist and inventor. He became well-known to the public due to his active promotion of alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion.

While a professor at Tuskegee Insitutute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. Although he spent years developing and promoting numerous products made from peanuts; none became commercially successful.

Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in promoting environmentalism. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. In an era of very high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community. He was widely recognized and praised in the white community for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo".