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Susan Carver taught George to read and write, since no local school would accept black students at the time.The search for knowledge would remain a driving force for the rest of George's life.While interested in science, Carver was also interested in the arts.In 1890, he began studying art and music at Simpson College in Iowa, developing his painting and drawing skills through sketches of botanical samples.
In these years, Carver established his reputation as a brilliant botanist and began the work that he would pursue for the remainder of his career.Carver's work at the helm of the Tuskegee Institute’s agricultural department included groundbreaking research on plant biology, much of which focused on the development of new uses for crops including peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans.Carver invented hundreds of products, including more than 300 from peanuts (milk, plastics, paints, dyes, cosmetics, medicinal oils, soap, ink, wood stains) and 118 from sweet potatoes (molasses, postage stamp glue, flour, vinegar and synthetic rubber) and even a type of gasoline.George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Diamond, Missouri, during the Civil War years, most likely in 1864. George Washington Carver was one of many children born to Mary and Giles, an enslaved couple owned by Moses Carver.
A week after his birth, George was kidnapped along with his sister and mother from the Carver farm by raiders from the neighboring state of Arkansas. Among them only the infant George was located by an agent of Moses Carver and returned to Missouri.At the time, cotton production was on the decline in the South; overproduction of a single crop had left many fields exhausted and barren.