Friday, May 30, 2008


-George Washington Carver saved the South from an economic crises and possible famine18 by inventing more than three hundred uses for the peanut, over one hundred uses from the sweet potato, around 75 uses from the pecan, and many more from Georgia clay; The new products from those soil-enriching plants allowed Carver to convince Southern farmers to rotate their crops instead of relying entirely on cotton--which was destroying soil and consequently plantations across the region.19
-Southern farmers were soon making more money from their peanut crops than cotton or tobacco.20
-Due to the enriching qualities of the peanut, sweet potato, and pecan the South's cotton and tobacco crops were the best they had ever seen.21
-In 1938 alone the peanut had become a 200 million dollar industry.22 If Carver had not been around there is no telling what misery Southerners--in a cotton reliant world--would have suffered, especially during the Great Depression.
-Carver's inventions allowed small-time farmers, white and black, the dignity and opportunity to own their own farms for the first time. Because cotton was only profitable when produced on a large-scale small farmers were forced to sharecrop--give a certain amount of their production to a rich landowner before selling their crops on the open market. Sharecropping often amounted to de facto slavery for whites and blacks. Carver liberated those people from that oppressive system.23
-Thomas Edison offered Carver $100,000 a year--around one million dollars by today's standards--and unlimited laboratory facilities to work with him. Henry Ford, a close personal friend of Carver, made a similar offer. Carver declined because he felt teaching black students at the Tuskegee Institute was more important.24
-Some of the more widespread consumer goods Carver created from agriculture included: synthetic rubber, soaps, dyes, paper, ink, paint, cream, buttermilk, instant coffee, face powder, butter, shampoo, vinegar, wood stains, flour, starch, tapioca, mucilage, insulating board, rugs, cordage, and paving blocks for highways.25

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