This blog is about George Washington Carver. A man of God. A man of science. First, I will provide a brief overview of his life and accomplishments. Then I will let his wisdom speak for itself through his quotes about his Christian faith. I consulted several sources for this entry. However, I drew most heavily from History.com website. I encourage you to read the full story as well as other resources about this remarkable Christian scientist. His story is about perseverance, accomplishments, and faith.
George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Missouri in 1864. His father died in an accident before he was born. When he was an infant, he along with his mother and sister were kidnapped by criminal slave raiders that stole slaves from one person and then sold to another. In his family’s case, they were sold to a slaveholder in Kentucky. Moses Carver, the original white farm owner, was able to buy back only George. He never knew either his father or his mother. The farm owner taught Carver how to read and write. An interesting fact that demonstrates God’s individual plans for us is that as a child he was often in poor health and considered frail. As a result, he was not productive working in the
field. The farmer’s wife thus taught him how to cook, sew, garden, and make simple herbal medicines. Young Carter especially took to gardening and making herbs. At this young age, he started experimenting with plants and soils. Local farmers started seeking him out because of his advice on improving the health of their gardens and fields.
At age 11, he left to the farm to attend an all-Black school in a neighboring town. A Black couple provided his lodging and meals in exchange for help with household chores. The wife was a midwife and nurse and expanded on his knowledge of herbal medicines. But the most important teaching she did for
him was in the Christian faith.
He was an excellent student and applied and was accepted into Highland College in Kansas. This all-White school later rejected his application when they realized that he was Black. Later a White couple from Iowa befriended Carver and encouraged him to attend Simpson College, a Methodist school that
accepted all students, regardless of race. One of his professors encouraged him to formally study botany because of his lifelong interest in plants. He went on to attend Iowa State Agricultural School (now Iowa State University) and became the first African-American to earn a Bachelor of Science in botany from this university. His professors were so impressed with his research on fungal infections in soybean plants that they encouraged him to stay for graduate school. In 1896, he earned his Master of Agriculture degree and was later offered a job at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama by Booker T. Washington. Washington established an agricultural school just for Carver to run. He remained a professor and researcher at Tuskegee Institute for the rest of his life. Carver dedicated his work to help poor Southern farmers be more successful in their crops. His professional accomplishments include demonstrating the following: 1) benefits of crop rotation in keeping the soil healthy and productive; 2) that could feed hogs acorns instead of commercial feed; 3) that swamp muck could work as well as a fertilizer; 4) the many uses of sweet potatoes including flour and vinegar and; 5) the use of peanuts for more than 300 food and industrial products, including milk, cooking oil, salad oil, paper, cosmetics, soaps and wood stains.
In 1921, Carver testified in front of the Ways and Means Committee of the US House of Representatives on behalf of the peanut industry. He received a standing ovation and the legislation he was seeking was passed to help the US peanut industry. In addition to dissemination of his scientific findings, he also traveled the South to promote racial harmony and even travelled to India to discuss nutrition in developing countries. President Franklin D. Roosevelt honored him with his own monument, which is in his hometown in Missouri. Carter was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
In his consequential life, he also suffered many indigencies of poverty, cruelties, racism, and personal danger. Despite his brilliance, he was turned down by universities and places of employment. I do not detail them in this blog because his enemies are not worth the space. I state it however to put his faith in this larger perspective. Although great evil was done to him, he maintained his strong faith in God. Also, in a world which looked to most as bleak he found God speaking to him in his everyday environment. He was raised in rural Missouri, went to college in rural Iowa. Nothing here that tourists would come to see!!! Many would find the landscape plain. But he saw the splendor of God in living
He viewed his scientific discovers as not proof of his superior intellect, but humbly as a scholar working to understand the world God has given us all.
George Washington Carver has many quotes on topics ranging from the value of hard work to his faith in God. I list here some of his best-known quotes about his faith and his research.
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, though which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in”
“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God”
“Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth”
"All of my life I have risen regularly at four o’clock and have gone into the woods and talked to God. There He gives me my orders for the day”
“When I was young, I said to God, “God, tell me the mystery of the universe.” But God answered, “That knowledge is reserved for me alone.” So I said, “God tell me the mystery of the peanut.” Then God said, “Well George, that’s more nearly your size.” And he told me."
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
“Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut, they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people, they give up their secrets also- if you love them enough”
“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”
“There is literally nothing that I ever asked to do, that I asked the blessed Creator to help me to do, that I have not been able to accomplish.”
“Never a day passes that I do myself the honor to commune with some of nature’s varied forms.”
“As I worked on projects which fulfilled a real human need forces were working through me which amazed me. I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke the answer was there. Why, then, should we who believe in Christ be so surprised at what God can do with a willing
man in a laboratory? Some things must be baffling to the critic who has never been born again.”
“The secret to my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible.”
“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new."
"Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”