George Washington Carver is well known to Americans as the Peanut Man. It’s been written of him that ‘peanuts were like paintbrushes: They were tools to express his imagination’.
If that sounds a bit ridiculous, it’s because it is.
George Washington Carver was far more radical and innovative than ‘the guy who did stuff with peanuts’.
At a time when the scientific consensus was pushing farmers to use more and more chemicals and machinery on their lands, Carver urged them to learn how to farm in harmony with nature.
He saw the direct link between the social injustice of the Jim Crow South and the ecological damage being wrought on the landscape.
He was a pioneer of ecological farming, a warrior for environmental justice before there was such a thing.
Our guest today is Mark Hersey, author of “My Work is that of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver” and a historian at Mississippi University.
Produced by Freddy Chick
Edited by Aidan Lonergan
Executive Producer is Charlotte Long