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George Washington Carver National Monument
Photo by Matthew Dillon
George Washington Carver National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service in Newton County, Missouri. The national monument was founded on July 14, 1943, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who dedicated $30,000 to the monument. It was the first national monument dedicated to an African American and first to a non-president.
The site preserves the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, as well as the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver cemetery. His boyhood home consists of rolling hills, woodlands, and prairies. The 240-acre (97 ha) park has a 3⁄4-mile (1.2 km) nature trail, film, museum, and an interactive exhibit area for students.
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943) was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.
While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow other 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 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".