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The Good Earth: George Washington Carver built a rich life from science and the land.

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  • Amos J Wright
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    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2010
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      George Washington Carver

      The Good Earth
      George Washington Carver built a rich life from science and the land.  
      By Julia M. Klein

      Born into slavery in Missouri during the Civil War’s closing months, George Washington Carver (1864-1943) was kidnapped, orphaned and nearly killed by whooping cough – all before the age of 1.

      Not an auspicious beginning for a figure who would eventually be dubbed the “Peanut Man” and the “People’s Scientist.” The boy who overcame adversity became a man who could do just about anything with a plant. Sidestepping the era’s virulent racism, Carver developed hundreds of applications for the peanut, sweet potato, pecan and soybean; pioneered organic farming and bio-fuel manufacture, and embraced science as a tool “to fill the poor man’s empty dinner pail.”  

      Carver’s achievements have had special resonance for African Americans. But, as recounted in an exhibition at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences (through Feb. 28), they are more broadly inspirational. A handsome man with an unusual high-pitched voice, Carver straddled poverty and privilege, Jim Crow racism and elite white approval, art and science, agriculture and industry. The show “George Washington Carver,” developed by Chicago’s Field Museum with Tuskegee University and the National Park Service, uses artifacts, text, videos, and interactive exhibits to construct a narrative that is compact, clear and surprisingly moving. Continue

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