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If you love peanut butter, read this!

By Kathy Barr



Anyone who loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter on crackers, peanut butter spread on celery sticks needs to be grateful for the work of George Washington Carver. Carver was a brilliant, but humble man who loved God and His creation. Carver overcame obstacles and became one of the most influential black men of his time. Born in 1864, Carver was kidnapped, along with his mother, by slave traders. Fortunately, he was rescued by a white couple, the Carvers,who ransomed him by giving a horse to his kidnappers . He didn’t start formal education until he was 12 years old, but went on to college and eventually discovered numerous uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and other foods. Some of those inventions, besides peanut butter, include paints and stains made from soybeans. Racial barriers prevented him from entering Highland University, but this did not stop him from applying at other institutions of higher education. At the age of 30, he applied for and was accepted at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa , and eventually received his master’s degree there. He was the first African-American to serve on the faculty at Simpson. He went on to work at Tuscugee Institute, under the direction of Booker T. Washington. . Carver only had three patents issued for a few of his many inventions. When asked why he had not applied for more patents, he replied that God had given him the ideas, so he did not feel he should take credit for them and benefit financially from their use. At one point in his life, he had the chance to make $100,000, but turned it down, so he could continue his research. Working to find inventions that would benefit his country was more important than fame and fortune. In addition to his many inventions, Carver also discovered the importance of rotating crops, which aided Southern farmers immeasurably. Most farmers in the south grew cotton, which depletes the nutrients in the soil. Carver learned that rotating cotton with other crops such as peanuts gives the soil a chance to “recover” from only growing one product. Many do not realize the impact of Carver’s inventions and practices such as crop rotation. He revolutionized the agricultural industry in the south, which, at the time, was the primary way that people made their income. Most Americans, whether they realize it or not, have benefited from Carver’s findings and practices. Carver’s efforts have been recognized in several ways. He was given an honorary doctorate from Simpson College in 1928. In 1938, he received an award from the NAACP. He received the Roosevelt medal for his work in restoring American agriculture. In 1943, President Roosevelt honored him with a national monument. . What lessons can be learned from his life? Pursue your dreams, despite any obstacles placed in the way. Working hard to make those dreams reality is also vital. Give credit to our Creator for the gifts he has given you and use them to glorify Him. And, paradoxically, not looking for credit for your work often brings acclaim more often than seeking recognition. Finally, realize that money isn’t everything. Rather than judge a job based on the income it will produce, judge it by the contribution it will allow you to make toward bettering our communities and nation. So, the next time you crack open a peanut or spread peanut butter on a slice of bread, thank God for George Washington Carver!

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The West Texas Tribune is a community-based newspaper that has been published, uninterrupted, since May 2005. Our goal is to highlight events and people throughout West Texas as an independent, locally run newspaper. We thrive on the support of our local community.

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