Booker T Washington invited Carver to Tuskegee:
I cannot offer you money, position or fame. The first two you have. The last, from the place you now occupy, you will no doubt achieve. These things I now ask you to give up.
In their place, Dr. Washington offered Professor Carver work. Hard work. The challenge of bringing people up from degradation, poverty and wasted lives.
Peanuts were still helping to rebuild the South when, in January 1921, Professor Carver received an invitation to Washington, DC. An important tariff bill was being considered by the Senate 'Ways and Means Committee' in Congress. For years peanuts had been brought into America from other countries at a tax of only half a cent a pound. It was becoming difficult for local growers to compete with the cheap foreign imports. Peanut growers pleaded with Professor Carver to ask the government at the Senate hearing to raise the tariff of imported peanuts. The professor agreed.
Arriving at the Capitol building, George Carver nervously entered the room in which the senators were discussing the bill. He heard someone say the meeting was about to close. Had he arrived too late? He announced himself to the committee, and was granted 10 minutes to state his case.
Only 10 minutes! He had so much to say and so little time. But he had to make a start. He told those gathered in the great hall about his findings from the peanuts: that the peanut was one of the richest of all the products in the soil, rich in food value, chemical properties, and much more. He produced displays: Breakfast food made from peanuts and sweet potatoes; delicious, wholesome, and easily digested.
More surprising displays: Ice-cream powder made from peanuts - just add water; Quinine substitute for fighting malaria; Peanut fodder for livestock; Dyes that wouldn't harm human skin... The committee was impressed. They agreed that the professor's 10 minutes should be extended.
For the next two hours George Carver shared the secrets of the peanut with a fascinated group of senators. They had never heard anything like this. He told them peanuts could be eaten when meat couldn't. Peanuts were the perfect food.
'Where did you learn all this?' asked one puzzled senator.
'From a book,' came the reply.
'What book?' the senator asked.
'The Bible,' answered the scientist, with a smile.
He told them God has given us everything for our use. 'He has revealed to me some of the wonders of the fruit of His earth,' Professor Carver continued. 'In the first chapter of Genesis we are told, “"Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."”That's what He means about it - meat. There is everything there to strengthen, nourish and keep the body alive and healthy.'
When George Washington Carver had finished, several senators came over to proudly shake his hand. An hour later, the committee's decision was announced. Professor Carver had won his case. Peanut growers no longer needed to fear being undersold by foreign imports.
Professor Carver was now 57 years old. Despite offers to work for such an eminent scientist as Thomas Edison, he continued on at Tuskegee for another 22 years. He developed a new type of cotton known as Carver's Hybrid, and manufactured synthetic marble from wood shavings. He produced dyes from tomato vines, beans, dandelions, onions, trees and clay, and was awarded a medal for advancing the cause of coloured people.
During his lifetime, George Washington Carver accepted the Book of Genesis as the foundation for his life and his scientific experiments. A few years before his death on Tuesday, January 5th, 1943, he donated his life's savings to establish a foundation for research in creative chemistry. A humble slave had become one of God's great scientists.