George Washington Carver Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Elizabeth Diehl

Elizabeth studied to be a special education teacher at Regis University, and received her masters in 2014.

Let's learn about how George Washington Carver used a little creative thinking, careful study and a kind heart to help make the world a little better.

A Man With a Kind Heart

Do you like to study how things work? Have you ever wanted to help people around you, and make their lives better? George Washington Carver wanted to do those things too. He took something he loved to study, how plants grow, and used it to help poor farmers have better crops and healthier lives. The things he learned and invented are still used today.

Early life

George was born as a slave on a small farm in Missouri, sometime before 1865. No one knows his exact birthday, because most people did not think a slave's birthday was important to remember. George had a mother and older brother who loved him. His owners were Moses and Susan Carver. When he was still a baby during the civil war, George's family was kidnapped. The kidnappers wanted to sell George's family. Some neighbors were able to save George, but they could not save his mom. The end of the civil war meant there were no more slaves, but there was nowhere for George and his brother to go, so the Carvers took care of them. Fortunately, the Carvers were kind people who raised the boys as best they could.

George in School

George went to a special school especially for young African Americans, and found out he liked learning. As a teenager he would go from town to town, studying at the local school and doing small jobs around people's houses. He saved up his money, and eventually made it to college. George Washington Carver graduated from State Agricultural College in Ames, Iowa, in 1894, and then graduate school in 1896. He studied agriculture, and was the first African American to graduate from that school. Agriculture is the study of how to raise good crops and how plants grow.

Tuskegee Institute

Right after college, George decided he wanted to keep learning and to help other people learn, too. There was a special school in Alabama called Tuskegee Institute. George got a job there, where he got to perform experiments in his own lab. In his lab, he created things made from plants, such as paint made from sweet potatoes. He taught the students about agriculture.

Portrait of George Washington Carver in 1906
George Washington Carver in 1906

George devoted his life to helping others. He did not marry or have any kids. He helped others at Tuskegee Institute until he died January 5, 1943. He was about 79 years old.

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