18 Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver
Spring, 1993, 6:00 am, the radio alarm starts to ring jolting me awake.
Ignoring the ringing sound, I turned around knowing I would have another 15 minutes of serenity before getting out of bed.
A few moments later, I heard the radio broadcasting station announcer speaking, “as a child, George Washington Carver was known to get up daily while it was still dark, about 4:00 a.m., walk outside his log cabin and speak with God in the fields. Years later he said he would ask God, ‘Lord, what does this do?’ George Washington Carver was holding a peanut in his hand. He was the founder of the peanut!”
I was a newbie in Christ when I heard those words. Alert and excited, in my mind I thought, “Oh! That’s how to speak with God, normal!”
I had struggled to develop a relationship with God, Jesus Christ. These few words opened the doors of understanding for me to just be me and speak as any normal person would speak–but this is God and I thought I had to be perfect; I knew I wasn’t perfect.
I did speak normally with God and developed my now ongoing relationship with the God of Creation.
I’ve never forgotten the incident and you know what, God didn’t either. A few days ago I was searching for a topic to write about so, again, I went to the Lord and brought it to His attention that I didn’t have a subject. Then I “remembered,” the moments of that radio announcer from 1993 talking about George Washington Carver.
Taking my cue, I smiled said “Thank you Lord!” and started my research.
“Oh my Gosh!” Feeling totally humbled, I was now at a total loss as I dug deeper into Mr. Carver’s history, his personality, his private and professional philosophy, his relationship with God, his peers and his students.
In a nutshell, this is mighty man who walked with God–from slavery to freedom and from poverty to prosperity who broke the barriers of racism on his journey to discovery.
“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~ George Washington Carver
From the moment George was born he battled to survive. George Washington Carver faced kidnapping, racial prejudices, and lacked proper opportunities for a formal education.
George Washington Carver was born in 1864 (it’s unrecorded which month or day in 1864) to Negro slaves Giles and Mary, in Diamond Grove, Missouri. Surnames for Negro slaves were not given or allowed. Later when he was privileged to enroll in a school, he was asked for his complete name. He chose Carver because of his owners.
His father Giles and his mother Mary, ten sisters and one brother, were bought for $700.00 in 1855 by German-American immigrant slave owners Moses and Sarah Carver.
In 1864, one week old George, one of his sisters and mother were kidnapped by night raiders never to be recovered with the exception of George. He was raised by Moses and Sarah Carver his German-American slave owners, .
George learned about not being wasteful from the Carver family, ie., he learned how to turn his well-worn cuffs inside out to continue to wear his shirts, helped Sarah Carver spin on the spinning wheel yarn to create material, learned to knit and darn.
As a professor in the Tuskegee Institute, funding was not available for his laboratory so George, ever the innovator, and several students took a “field trip” for supplies, to areas where discarded items like beakers, test tubes, vials, broken lamps were available — all waiting to be picked up, cleaned and ready to be used in his lab.
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope” ~ George Washington Carver
George had a vision, a wish to go to school to learn more. He felt he could help the family if he could learn to read. Concerned that the Carver family would not be able to afford the finances or spend time for his education because they were always working on the farm, he set out to speak to a more affluent neighbor to help him read at home. Negros were forbidden to go to school at this time.
Having reached the home of his neighbor, he knocked on the door but no one answered. He quietly stepped inside, hoping to find someone inside. This adventure was his exposure to a home filled with treasures: portraits, paintings, a parlor and many books on wall lined bookshelves. Awed with his discovery, his gaze fell on the portraits hanging on the walls; his passion for being an artist was born. With no on in sight, George quietly left the home and went back out where he came from.
Thinking about all he had seen, he knew he didn’t have any money to buy supplies for the various paints so he turned to his beloved wooded fields to “create” his supplies. Twigs, bark, sulphide & flowers for colors, (he created the color blue when he mixed the sulphide with flowers), quills and feathers for paint brushes, etc., and he began to paint various flowers, all that nature had to offer, not realizing he was now not only an artist but also a chemist.
Each of his creative experiences as a child became building blocks to help him as he grew older.
“I am a dreamer who dreams, sees visions, and listens always to the still small voice. I am the trail-blazer.” ~ George Washington Carver
Having fulfilled his wish as an artist, he thought to himself that if he owned his own pocket knife, he could help his Uncle Moses build things for the farm. He always had a motivating wish to help others.
One night he had a vivid dream. He dreamed he was walking in the field, with three corn stalks facing in a specific direction. He suddenly stops, looks down and spots a leather pocket knife buried in the ground. Startled, with a fast beating heart, he awoke from his dream and wondered if it was possible that someone was looking out for him even through his dreams. When morning came, he took his usual walk into the fields, found the three corn stalks, and stops directly in the spot he had seen in his dream. Digging into the dirt, he unearths a leather pocket knife!
Now he definitely knew he had someone looking out for him. He wasn’t alone.
“When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is 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.” ~ George Washington Carver
It’s after he is 10 years old that George was invited to go to church where he learned about God and became a Christian. Now he knew who was looking out for him and he could speak directly to God.
Armed with the God of the impossible on his side helping him, the doors of education opened up for him.
“After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised George and his older brother James as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits, and “Aunt Susan” taught him the basics of reading and writing.
Black people were not allowed at the public school in Diamond Grove. Learning there was a school for black children 10 miles (16 km) south in Neosho, George decided to go there. When he reached the town, he found the school closed for the night. He slept in a nearby barn. By his own account, the next morning he met a kind woman, Mariah Watkins, from whom he wished to rent a room. When he identified himself as “Carver’s George,” as he had done his whole life, she replied that from now on his name was “George Carver”. George liked this lady very much, and her words, “You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people”, made a great impression on him.
At the age of thirteen, due to his desire to attend the academy there, he relocated to the home of another foster family in Fort Scott, Kansas. After witnessing a black man killed by a group of whites, Carver left the city. He attended a series of schools before earning his diploma at Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas. (source: Wikipedia)
With perseverance, George not only graduates from high school, he goes on to college at Simpson College and then to Tuskegee Institute where he became a distinguished and honored and respected professor.
In 1890 George studied art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. His art teacher discovered his talent for painting flowers and plants and encouraged him to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames.
George gained his Master’s Degree at Iowa State researching plant pathology and mycology gaining him attention and respect as a national botanist.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” ~ George Washington Carver
As a caring and compassionate person, George gained national and international attention in all that he set his mind to learn, experience and share with others regardless of race, color, or creed, who wanted to learn.
He met with Presidents of the United States and became an employee with the Department of Agriculture when he was asked for his help involving the various uses of the peanut and the sweet potatoes and his crop rotation theory in farming techniques.
His fields of ability are renown. He became an inventor, a botanist, an artist/painter. His legacy is overflowing with honors, including an Honorary Doctorate in 1928 from Simpson College.
Thomas Edison recognized his valuable multiple talents and offered him a six figure annual salary if he left Tuskegee Institute and worked for him full-time.
Dr. Carver turned it down. In his humility, Dr. Carver maintained an annual salary of $1500.00 from Tuskegee Institute because he wanted to continue to teach and train young tender open minds. Dr. Carver lived on campus and ate at the school cafeteria with the students through out his lifetime.
It’s believed that Dr. Carver gave 20% of his earnings to his local church, he also funded students who couldn’t afford tuition to complete their studies.
Dr. Carver never married. His family was long gone so his students and Tuskegee became his “family.” In fact, when Dr. Carver was honored for his Doctorate from Simpson College, it was his students who bought him his only good suit. He wore this suit for the next 30 years.
“George Washington Carver reputedly discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes (a biofuel), ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain.” (source: Wikipedia)
The video below is the creme of this subject. Wouldn’t you know it? A few hours before I set out to write this article, up comes this teaching on “Greater Things,” by Pastor Jentezen Franklin from last Sunday. What’s the probability of this taking place?
Ms. Mary Pacheco, aka: SeashoreMary
Christian Author, Website Designer, Website Consultant