Pictures Of George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver has been pigeonholed by history. He plays two roles. He is first, the man who advocated peanut farming and invented all sorts of uses for the crop; we even go so far as to give him credit for inventing peanut butter, which he never did nor claimed to have done. Second, he is the exemplar of the African-American scientist. These categorizations may have their true aspects, but are oversimplifications. Carver wanted his recommendations in agriculture to make for social reform, and he grounded the recommendations in respect for nature and in conservation of resources.
In this, he was a pioneer, reflecting much of what we have had to relearn over the past decades. "My Work Is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver"(University of Georgia Press) by Mark D. Hersey stresses Carver's life as an early ecological thinker and practical philosopher.
It is not at all a full biography, but in limiting the book to Carver's environmental concerns, Hersey has reminded us that Carver thought deeply about far more than peanuts, and it restores him within the environmental history of the south and within ecological history in general. Hersey, in clear prose and insightful understanding, has done a great service in raising Carver from the two-dimensional role he usually plays.