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George Washington Carver Day: Remembering a man of faith

George Washington Carver Day is set aside in honor of the agricultural chemist known as “the father of the peanut industry.” Also called “the Peanut Man” and the “Wizard of Tuskegee,” Dr. Carver died on Jan. 5, 1943.

George Washington Carver, renowned agricultural scientist, died on Jan. 5, 1943, which has come to be recognized as George Washington Carver Day.

African American Registry reported that upon the date of his death, Carver’s hometown in Diamond, MO was made a historic site. Moreover, President Harry S. Truman signed a Joint Resolution in 1945 saying, "I do hereby call upon officials of the Government to have the flag at half staff on all government buildings on Jan. 5, 1946, in commemoration of the achievements of George Washington Carver."

In 1903 Carver began his peanut research at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where he discovered more than 300 uses for peanuts and other products grown in the South. In 1925, the black botanist published a bulletin “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.”

African American Registry also noted Carver’s appointment to the Department of Agriculture by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to address the southern farming crisis in1935 and that he was subsequently awarded the Roosevelt Medal in 1939 for saving Southern agriculture, which was later instrumental in feeding the United States during World War II.

According to William J. Federer, in his book George Washington Carver: His Life & Faith in His Own Words, Carver was a devout man of God who at an early age dedicated his talents and intelligence to God's Word and work. His longtime friend and research assistant, Dr. Austin Curtis, once said this about him. “Dr. Carver was a very religious man, but he was pragmatic with it, and he would say that God gave man a brain to use, if he would be wise, and then to find out why these things exist on the Earth for the benefit of mankind.”

Federer reports that one day Carver asked God to show him the secrets of the universe. God said to his heart, “That is too big for you.” He then asked God to show him the secrets of man. God again replied, “That is too big for you.” Finally, Carver said, “Then show me the secrets of the peanut.” God said, “That is something you can handle.”

The League of Everyday Doxologists speaks of Dr. Carver as a “God-glorifying agricultural innovator” who integrated faith into his vocation as a scientist and teacher.

Each year on Jan. 5 we remember George Washington Carver, one of the most revered African American scientists of his time.

Click here to learn more about the celebrated Black botanist, Dr. George Washington Carver and view a slideshow tribute.

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