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Famous Adoptees or Adopters

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George Washington Carver, American agricultural chemist (1864-1943)


G.W. Carver was born in 1864. He and his family were enslaved to owner Moses Carver. Soon after his birth, however, George, his mother, and sister were kidnapped from the Carver Plantation by slave raiders who resold them. Moses Carver searched for the family, but was only able to recover George, whom he raised as a son and provided for his education.

Years later, George earned a B.S. and M.A. from Iowa State College before joining the Tuskegee Institute in 1897 as director of the Department of Agricultural Research. Carver dedicated himself to helping better the position of African Americans in the South, and to improving that region's agricultural economy by teaching about soil improvement and diversification of crops. His accomplishments included discovering hundreds of new uses for crops, such as the peanut, devising new products from cotton waste, and inventing a way to extract pigments from the local clay. Carver contributed his life savings to a foundation for research at Tuskegee.

Fun Fact: In 1953, Carver's birthplace was made a national monument. It was the first U.S. national monument dedicated to an African American.

Photo source: Library of Congress

Next: Joan Didion, American writer (b. 1934)

More on: Adoption

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