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George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver
Usage Conditions Apply
Prentice H. Polk, 1898 - 1985
George Washington Carver, c. 1864 - 5 Jan 1943
c. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Image: 24.4 x 19.8 cm (9 5/8 x 7 13/16")
Sheet: 25.8 x 20.3 cm (10 3/16 x 8")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Dr. Donald L. Polk
Object number
Exhibition Label
Scientist and educator George Washington Carver dedicated his career to improving the lives of impoverished southern farmers by encouraging the practice of scientific agriculture. Overcoming numerous barriers to secure a master's degree in agriculture in 1896, Carver accepted Booker T. Washington's invitation to lead the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute in rural Alabama. For the next forty-seven years, Carver poured his energy into research and educational efforts designed to improve farm productivity and foster self-sufficiency among African American farmers who were trapped in sharecropping dependency. Advocating crop diversification to restore soil exhausted by cotton, Carver encouraged the cultivation of soil-enriching peanuts and sweet potatoes. To demonstrate their commercial viability, he developed hundreds of new products solely from those crops. Carver's efforts transformed southern agriculture and earned him international recognition as the "Genius of Tuskegee."
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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