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George Washington Carver's Influence on the Pop Culture of the Roaring Twenties

Updated on March 20, 2017

This is for a school project but is also full of valuable information.

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

— George Washington Carver

Born Into Slavery

Carver was born around 1864. The exact date is unknown. He was born to Mary and Giles and got his last name from the slave owner, Moses Carver, his parents belonged to. As little as a week had gone by before George, his mom, and his sister were kidnapped and sold in Kentucky. Out of the three of them, only George was found and returned to the Carver Plantation.

Liberated Child

After the Civil War and slavery had ended, George had no where to go. His former master, Moses Carver, adopted him as his own son. Moses and his wife Susan homeschooled him, teaching him how to read and write. At that time black children were not allowed to go to school.

The George Washington Carver monument in Missouri
The George Washington Carver monument in Missouri | Source

A Thirst for Knowledge

Carver was home schooled until age 13. He traveled to a school for black children to further his education. He graduated from Minneapolis High School in Kansas before getting accepted to Highland College. The college, in Highland, Kansas, denied his application after learning that he was black. He didn't let that stop his journey for knowledge. He decided to start performing his own experiments. They were very successful. Carver applied to the botany program at the Iowa State Agricultural College. He started at Iowa in 1891 as the first black student.

Consumer Culture

The ever growing idea that having things led to happiness made America a consumer culture. Carver's experiments with peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans, pecans, and other crops, led to the production of many natural products. These included plastics, paints, dyes, and a kind of fuel. Carver is famous for recognizing the potential of peanuts. He made over 300 products using peanuts.


The 1920's

In the 1920's, the innovations of so many desirable and advertised products led to a wave of consumer culture. Electricity was put into homes allowing for electronic appliances. After a while of wanting more and more products, things were out into play so people could buy right away and worry about the price tag later. These things were credit and instalment buying. With credit people could buy something right away with an instant loan and pay it back later. Instalment buying is a type of credit wherein you could put a part of the price down immediately and then pay off the rest in instalments over time.

Last Days

Nearing the end of his life Carver had become an icon to for black people who had been struggling with racism. He died when he was 78 on January 5, 1943.

Carver's Epitaph

"He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."


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