In 1864, in a slave cabin in Newton County Missouri, a baby boy was born to Mary and Giles, slaves to German immigrant Moses Carver. The baby was named George, and when he was barely a week old, his parents were kidnapped by slave raiders from Arkansas and sold in Kentucky.
Moses and Susan Carver cared for the boy and, after slavery was abolished, they raised George as their own child, teaching him to read and write. When still a boy, George moved to Neosho Missouri, where there was a school for Negro children.
In 1886, 22 year old George traveled to Ness County Kansas where he homesteaded 17 acres and experimented with plants and flowers and trees, working as a ranch hand and at odd jobs to support himself.
In 1891, George entered Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames Iowa to study botany. He was the first Negro student to enter that college, and he would later be the first Negro professor to teach at that college.
In 1896, after George had earned his Master's Degree at Iowa State, Booker T. Washington, the first principal and president of the Tuskegee Institute, invited George to head the Institute's Agricultural Department. George accepted and taught and worked at Tuskegee for 47 years, during which time he was responsible for sweeping changes in the agricultural landscape of the South.
Decades of growing only cotton had leeched the land of the old Southern plantations, and the boll weevil epidemic of 1892 greatly exacerbated the plight of the Southern farmer. George introduced soybeans, sweet potatoes, pecans, and peanuts as both food crops and cash crops to replace cotton. He introduced crop rotation to refurbish the land. He experimented with and developed new uses for the peanut as a cash crop, from plastics and paint to a fuel similar to gasoline.
During their years together at Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington, America's first Black educator, and George, America's first Black inventor, became close friends, and George adopted Washington's last name as his middle name – George Washington Carver.
George Washington Carver died on 5 January 1943 and was buried on the grounds of Tuskegee next to the grave of Booker T. Washington. His epitaph reads: "He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."
George Washington Carver exemplified the spirit of entrepreneurism –the soul of the Capitalistic wealth production machine. He created products – new agricultural procedures and new uses for agricultural produce – that were needed and that added value to society.
This same spirit is exhibited in Dr. Ben Carson, who rose from poverty in Detroit to become one of the world's most respected neurosurgeons. And in Thomas Sowell, who overcame an inauspicious beginning in North Carolina and then in Harlem to become a highly respected author, economist, social philosopher, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford university.
These and many others of lesser renown have made the choice to join the Capitalistic system rather than to join the Sharptons and Jacksons in denigrating it. And they are prospering. If we could get more Blacks involved in free market Capitalism, our "race" problems would disappear.
Of course, we've got to get the government out of the way first.