George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943) was an American agricultural scientist and inventor. He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion.
While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative 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”.