Saturday, July 12, 2014

Carver Day

Today we went to Carver Day at the George Washington Carver National Monument in nearby Diamond, Missouri. Carver was born in Diamond and went to school in Neosho, so he's quite the local hero. He was born a slave and later became a scientist who promoted peanuts and other crops as an alternative to the overplanting of cotton in the south. According to Wikipedia the monument "was the first national monument dedicated to an African American and the first to honor someone other than a president." Pretty cool.

There was another little Wikipedia section that I thought was awesome. Carver died in 1943, which was smack in the middle of World War Dos.

A movement to establish a U.S. national monument to Carver began before his death. Because of World War II, such non-war expenditures were banned by presidential order. Missouri senator Harry S. Truman sponsored a bill in favor of a monument. In a committee hearing on the bill, one supporter said:
"The bill is not simply a momentary pause on the part of busy men engaged in the conduct of the war, to do honor to one of the truly great Americans of this country, but it is in essence a blow against the Axis, it is in essence a war measure in the sense that it will further unleash and release the energies of roughly 15,000,000 Negro people in this country for full support of our war effort."

So in a roundabout way George Washington Carver, with the help of peanuts, defeated Hitler.

This may seem silly but I was impressed as soon as we parked. It was a hot day but the parking was nice and shady.

There was a keynote speaker which I didn't find particularly interesting. State Representative Bill Reiboldt was on hand to give a speech and present an award as well.

We went on a little tour of the grounds. There was a statue or two of Carter, a pond, a house, and a cemetery

Probably the most amusing part of our trip was the class on how to make peanut milk.

First you grind up the peanuts with a mortar and pestle. Then you add water and strain the solids. It instantly turns white as milk. We weren't allowed to drink it, but it smelled very peanutty. Apparently this was a life saver for babies in war-torn countries at the time.

We hardly had the time or energy to even glance at the museum after all of the festivities, so we will have to make another trip sometime. Maybe in the winter when there will be less going on.

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