George Washington Carver

  George Washington Carver was an important African-American scientist and inventor.  He was born into slavery during the Civil War.  Though the Civil War ended slavery, most blacks received little or no schooling during this time.  Through sheer determination, Carver managed to earn an advanced college degree in botany, the study of plants.  He believed education is "the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."  Carver went to Alabama to teach botany and modern farming techniques to other African-Americans.

  Carver found the soil in Alabama and other parts of the South had been ruined by growing cotton for many years.  Cotton takes many nutrients from the soil without giving anything back.  Carver told the farmers that in addition to cotton they must also grow plants such as sweet potatoes and peanuts, which restore nutrients to the soil.  Farmers took Carver's advice and found it worked!

  Farmers soon produced more sweet potatoes and peanuts than people were willing to buy.  Therefore Carver went back to work in the laboratory.  There he developed hundreds of products that could be made from the sweet potato and the peanut.  Some of these products were plastics, dyes, flour, powdered milk, fertilizer, and medicines.  One of his most successful inventions was peanut butter!


Answer the questions below.

1. George Washington Carver was

president of the United States.

a scientist and inventor.

a farmer.


2. Carver was born during the War.


3. Botany is the study of .


4. Nutrients are found in the


5. Carver went to which southern state to teach farmers about botany and farming?





6. Carver received an advanced college degree in .

7. and sweet potatoes restored nutrients to the poor soil.
8. For many years southern farmers had grown only what crop?


sweet potatoes

9. George Washington Carver worked and developed hundreds of products in

farm fields.

a laboratory.

10. Carver believed "is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
11. Carver's most successful invention is a food called .



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