On November 14th, 1915, Booker T. Washington died.
Born into slavery, he had to teach himself to read.
He formed Tuskegee Institute in his mid-twenties and recruited George Washington Carver to teach agriculture.
Washington turned Tuskegee into an entrepreneurial incubator because no graduate was allowed to leave and consider themselves “educated” until they had learned how to practice two trades and be economically self sufficient.
Carver created his own “agricultural extension” to improve the lot of the “dirt farmers”.
Southern land was depleted from agricultural mismanagement and the focus on one primary crop – cotton. Carver introduced farmers to the use of legumes like peanuts and chick peas (garbanzo beans) to add nitrogen to the soil as well as food and other uses. That’s how he arrived at 300 uses for the simple peanut.
Thanks to Bill Federer and the American Minute for the reminder today.