Fighters for Freedom

Dr. George Washington Carver


In this painting, Johnson shows various episodes in the life of Dr. George Washington Carver (about 1864–1943), a world-renowned scientist who directed the department of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Born into a slave family, Carver completed college and graduate work at Iowa State Agricultural College. He then dedicated himself to improving the economy of the South and the plight of poor black farmers and taught them soil improvement and crop diversification. Carver also developed hundreds of products that were made from peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans.
Dr. George Washington Carver
about 1945
oil on fiberboard
90.2 x 72.4 cm
(35 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.)
Gift of the Harmon Foundation

LOOK CAREFULLY

Study Johnson's painting of Dr. George Washington Carver. The artist has included important events in Dr. Carver's life by using symbols to depict his contributions to education, science, and agriculture. Can you identify some of the items pictured? Work with a group of classmates to choose a prominent African American from the past or present and research his or her life. Make a list of his or her important contributions and as a group create a drawing or collage that includes symbols of these contributions.




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