George Washington Carver Visits Suffolk, Virginia, 1922

The New York Age, October 7, 1922

Prof. Carver To Tell White Virginians About the Peanut – Will Lecture Daily at Four County Fair To Be Held at Suffolk Oct. 24-27, In Connection With First Big Peanut Exhibit — (Special to The New York Age)
 
The Four County Fair, to be held October 24 to 27, is owned and controlled entirely by the white people of this section. The secretary, Mr. Jordan, announces that the most striking feature of the forthcoming exhibition will be the peanut exhibit, with Prof. George W. Carver, director of chemical research of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Alabama, lecturing daily during the fair to the white farmers and visitors.
 
The peanut industry, one of the largest agricultural industries in five states, has never yet attempted such an exhibition, and Secretary Jordan says it is but right “that the first exhibit of its kind in the world should be in Suffolk. We are going to have the first exhibit of its kind and it will be the most unique in the world.” Mr. Jordan is himself prominently identified with the peanut industry.
 
The secretary has been working for several weeks to plan this exhibit, and declares he would not have attempted it unless it had been possible to secure Prof. Carver, who will also bring his collection of exhibits. The arrangements were concluded by telegraph on September 22.
 
Plans for the unusual exhibit are now complete, whereby the numerous products manufactured from the peanut grown and marketed in this section of Virginia will be shown. The exhibit will be a revelation to everyone in this section.
 
Many Peanut Products
 

Prof. Carver, of Tuskegee, through his research work with the peanut, has opened new vistas for the industry, and his efforts will greatly benefit the producing states. He has produced for practical commercial uses from the peanut, the following, all of which will be on exhibition: Three kinds of butter, two salad oils, meal stock, for cattle and swine, flour for diabetics, meals for polishing metals, cake, numerous confections, ground hay, leather dyes of nineteen shades, instant coffee, bisque from peanut milk, Worcester sauce, chili sauce, sprouts, relishes, breakfast foods, axle grease, toilet and laundry soaps, quinine from the red skins, tannic acid, linoleum, glycerin, from which nitroglycerin was made during the war, butter chili, lard compound, oleomargarine, cheese filler, pomade, ink, purple and black indelible, wood stains of nine shades and colors, and peanut milk.
 
Peanut milk is of particular interest. An ordinary tumbler of shelled peanuts will produce one pint of rich, creamy milk, containing three times as much carbohydrates, and twelve times as much fat, as cow’s milk.
 
“By controlling the quantity of carbohydrates and proteins used,” says Professor Carver, “many different grades of milk can be made.” This milk is now being used for culinary purposes.
 
Born In Little Shanty
 
The life of Professor Carver reads like a romance. He was born in Diamond Grove, Mo., in a one-room log shanty. His parents were slaves. Like the late Booker T. Washington, with whom he was associated for many years at Tuskegee, he fought his way upward from reconstruction days, and won his education by manual labor.

He went to school at Fayetteville, Ark., then to Neosho, Mo., working as he went. With the help of friends, but mostly by his own efforts he entered Simpson College at Indianola, Iowa, and later completed his work in science and agriculture at Iowa State College, where he took the degrees of bachelor and master.  

Professor Carver was then added to the faculty and placed in charge of the greenhouse, bacteriological laboratory and work in systematic botany and was called from that post by Booker T. Washington to his present work at Tuskegee. For thirty years he has worked at that institution. He is now past sixty years of age.
 
By assembling the numerous everyday products made of peanuts, numbering about fifty different commercial items, and with those of Professor Carver, the peanut exhibit at Suffolk in October will be made worth traveling many miles to see.
 
These exhibits and the cost of assembling them is borne largely by some of the leading peanut cleaners of this section. The exhibit will be along educational lines only.

The New York Age, October 7, 1922

I suspect The New York Age carried this story on Prof. George Washington Carver’s visit to Suffolk in part due to merchant and businessman Robert Williams’ long-standing professional and personal friendship with Frederick Randolph Moore, editor of The New York Age.

Robert Williams (1867-1952), of Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina, was one of early Suffolk’s leading African American businessmen from 1902, until his death in 1952. He is buried along with his wife, Fannie B. Hargrove Williams (1876-1937), in historic Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885), Suffolk. Look for our upcoming blog concerning Robert Williams in the near future.

For more on Professor George Washington Carver, see this link.

Professor George Washington Carver, date unknown. Library of Congress

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