George Washington Carver really did find over 300 uses for peanuts, and some have become important parts of our lives.
Carver wanted poor farmers to grow peanuts both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life.
He started with different foods he could make from the peanut and made peanut oil and peanut butter. He also found that flour, molasses, cheese, and milk could be made from peanuts.
Carver combined his biology and chemistry skills by separating the different parts of the peanut, its starches, amino acids, and oils, and recombining them into many nonfood products.
He made dye, soap, ink, and rubber from peanuts. He even found uses for the peanut shells in insulating boards for building and fuel briquettes.
Carver could have become very rich from all his discoveries, but he chose to patent almost none of them. He wanted to make it easier for everyone to share in their benefits.
Congress was so impressed with Carver’s accomplishments that they passed a law imposing a tax on imported peanuts to support America’s peanut industry.
Carver received many honors as a result of his research, but he could not escape the segregation laws of the South.
When he was invited to speak to the newly formed United Peanut Growers Association in Montgomery, Alabama, he still had to enter the building by the rear door.