In my last post, I talked about the importance of focusing on one person at a time during Black History Month. The slowing down allows for the depth and nuance of the individual you are studying to flow through.
Dr. George Washington Carver is the person I am focusing on for our historical, environmental, and science studies. He is often overlooked in classrooms and most of the time his work is limited to his peanut discoveries but Dr. George Washington Carver has done so much more for the field of environmentalism, agriculture, botany, and Black families.
Here are 5 reasons why Dr. George Washington Carver deserves space in your studies.
1. Inspiration: Dr. Carver's life story serves as a powerful inspiration for children about the beauty in believing in your gifts and desiring to get better at your gifts. Dr. Carver kept learning more and more about what interested him. He understood what his talents were and wanted to improve upon them. His story can motivate children to believe in their potential and strive for greatness.
2. Contributions to science: Dr. Carver was a renowned scientist and inventor, particularly known for his work in agricultural research. He revolutionized farming practices and developed innovative uses for crops like peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. Learning about his scientific achievements and his dedication to helping Black farmers improve their quality of life can spark an interest in science and encourage children to explore the field further.
3. Environmental awareness: Dr. Carver emphasized the importance of sustainable agriculture and conservation. He promoted crop rotation and advocated for the use of alternative crops to prevent soil depletion. Teaching children about his environmental stewardship can instill a sense of responsibility towards nature and remind them that Black people are the foundation of environmental science. It was our contributions that helped create the movement. Teaching children that Black people have cared for the Earth for centuries will help change the narrative that Black people are not eco-friendly.
4. Racial equality and social justice: Dr. Carver faced immense racial discrimination throughout his life but that did not limit him in his studies and his work centering on teaching and guiding Black farmers. By learning about his experiences, children can develop empathy, pride, and a deeper understanding of the struggles Black people faced during that time.
If you have a child who is older than 7, you can expand the conversation to make comparisons to the rights and liberties that Black people received during the different decades.
Dr. Carver had such a strong faith in God and his work that he was called to do. As you share Dr. Carver's full story, use his quotes, and his words, as a guiding light to show the power of what faith can do. Dr. Carver did not limit himself based on the limitations others placed on him. He rested in his faith in God and trusted that he was doing what he was created to do.
5. Creativity and innovation: Dr. Carver's ability to find multiple uses for crops demonstrated his creativity and innovative thinking. He created 105 food recipes! By studying his methods, children can learn to think outside the box, explore different possibilities, and develop problem-solving skills.
If you can't tell, I am a huge fan of Dr. George Washington Carver because his life is a tapestry of lessons that can educate and uplift the Black children in your life.
If you have children 3-6, I have a few activities that you can introduce to start the conversation about Dr. Carver: