Congressman Mo Brooks Recognizes George Washington Carver's Legacy Ahead of Decatur Historic Marker Unveiling
Washington, DC— Tuesday, in a House Floor speech, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) recognized George Washington Carver’s heroic, lasting legacy of scientific advancement and personal achievement made in the face of countless racist hurdles he had to overcome. The speech is a precursor to the George Washington Carver historic marker unveiling at the site of Carver School in Decatur, Alabama on January 5, 2020.
Click on the above image or HERE for video of Congressman Brooks’ speech
Full text of Congressman Brooks’ floor speech follows:
Mr. Speaker, renowned Alabama educator, artist, and botanist George Washington Carver, like many Americans, overcame numerous obstacles to achieve greatness.
Carver’s contributions to science and agriculture made a huge impact that is still felt across the globe today.
On January 5th of 2020, Alabama will unveil a historic marker honoring Dr. Carver at Decatur’s Horizon School.
Carver visited Decatur in 1935. Carver Elementary was named in his honor.
During his visit, Carver spoke to an audience of more than 1,000 Decatur residents.
In a letter to then Superintendent W.W. Henson after his visit, Carver Washington Carver wrote, “The Carver School far exceeds my expectations. It is a most beautiful building and I hope that it will be able in every way to integrate itself into the up-building and the development of the splendid possibilities which lie all around you.”
Carver was deeply devoted to education.
During the Civil War, George Washington Carver was born in Diamond Grove, Missouri. Shamefully, he was not allowed to attend public schools near his home because he was an African-American.
But that did not stop George Washington Carver. He was determined to get an education, so he enrolled at a school 10 miles away in Neosho, Missouri.
In Neosho, Carver was befriended by Mariah Watkins, from whom rented a room.
Mariah Watkins advice to Carver was simple. “You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people”.
Carver did just that.
Disappointed in the quality of Neosho’s school, Carver moved to Kansas and supported himself through a variety of occupations while he furthered his education as he could.
After earning his high school diploma, he discovered opportunities for college for black men in Kansas were nonexistent.
So, George Washington Carver majored in art at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa as their only black student.
Encouraged by his Simpson professors to focus on botany, Carver transferred to Iowa State, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science.
Thereafter, in April 1896, Booker T. Washington, recruited Carver to Tuskegee Institute's agriculture school in Alabama, where Carver taught and mentored generations of students for the next 47 years.
At Tuskegee, Carver developed revolutionary techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton.
Together with other agricultural experts, he urged farmers to restore nitrogen to their soils by practicing systematic crop rotation, alternating cotton crops with plantings of sweet potatoes or legumes (such as peanuts, soybeans and cowpeas).
While at Tuskegee, Carver trained farmers to successfully rotate and cultivate the new crops.
Carver developed and established an agricultural extension program for all of Alabama.
Carver founded an industrial research laboratory, where he and assistants worked to popularize the new crops by developing hundreds of applications for them.
In 1916, Carver was made a member of the Royal Society of Arts in England, one of only a handful of Americans at that time to receive this honor.
The United Peanut Associations of America invited Carver to speak at their 1920 convention. He discussed "The Possibilities of the Peanut" and exhibited 145 peanut products.
Carver received the 1923 NAACP Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement by an African American.
Before his death in 1943, Carver donated his life savings to establish the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee.
Carver was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
The George Washington Carver National Monument was the first national monument dedicated to a black American and the first to a non-president.
George Washington Carver left a lasting legacy on Alabama schools, and Alabama is proud to have been the home of this renowned scientific leader.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back.