Monday, February 7, 2011

Celebrating George Washington Carver - Renaissance Man

In the early 50s, during my first few years of school, the teacher would occasionally hustle us into the auditorium for a movie. Always in black-and-white, these movies were sometimes on health, sometimes "Francis the Talking Mule," and sometimes a documentary.

One day, they showed us a film about George Washington Carver. I was amazed that one man could achieve so much. It just wasn't a possibility I had considered until that moment. The example of this great man stayed with me for the rest of my life.

George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) was an innovative scientist and educator. After the Civil War, cotton agriculture was depleting the soil, and he promoted the raising of sweet potatoes, peanuts and other alternative crops. Much of his fame came from inventing creative ways to use peanuts. He encouraged poor farmers to grow peanuts to enrich their lives. He also created dozens of new uses for peanuts to boost a demand for them.

Through his publications and example, he also promoted education, self-reliance and equality. Some of what he said is timeless wisdom...

On ACCOUNTABILITY - "Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses."

On AWARENESS - "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."

On COMPASSION - “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”

On CREATIVITY - "Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible."

On EFFORT - “There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation - veneer isn't worth anything.”

On EXCELLENCE - "When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."

On FAIRNESS - "Education, in the broadest of truest sense, will make an individual seek to help all people, regardless of race, regardless of color, regardless of condition."

On SELF-DEVELOPMENT - "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."

On SERVICE - “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”

On VISION - "Where there is no vision, there is no hope."

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Image of Dr. Carver from Library of Congress, public domain)

1 comment:

Kathleen Scott said...

And he did it at a time of great discrimination. Extraordinary man!

I have his sweet potato biscuit recipe, going to be on our table soon.