WHEREAS, George Washington Carver was born into slavery near Diamond Grove, Missouri sometime between July 1861 and January 1864 and was a sickly baby, soon orphaned when his mother was abducted by slave-traders, and whose very survival beyond infancy defied the understanding and capabilities of the medical community at that time; and
WHEREAS, even absent a formal education, George Washington Carver's intellect and affinity for agriculture manifested themselves at an early age; and;
WHEREAS, at the age of 11, George Washington Carver informed his caretakers that he was going to move to Neosho so he could attend the school for African-American children and that he would find a place where he could sweep and wash clothes and do the other things in exchange for his board. He soon traveled to Neosho, alone, with nothing but the best of his rock collection, a clean shirt in a bundle slung over his shoulder, and a package of food under his arm; and
WHEREAS, by the end of 1876, George Washington Carver had learned everything the teacher at the school knew and everything in the books available to the school, and the teacher gave him a certificate of merit attesting to such fact; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver continued his education at various institutions in Kansas and Iowa, all the while taking whatever jobs allowed him to earn the money needed to continue his education, inspiring one professor to proclaim, "George Carver has come to us with a satchel full of poverty and a burning zeal to know everything"; and
WHEREAS, in 1896 Booker T. Washington pleaded with George Washington Carver to bring his intellect to Tuskegee Institute, which was founded by Washington to provide a college education for African-Americans. Booker T. Washington had come to realize that, since 85 percent of southern African-Americans were farmers, Tuskegee's greatest need was an Agricultural Department. George accepted, knowing that the work would be hard and the financial reward minimal; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver stressed to Tuskegee's students and the region's farmers that soil conservation through diversification of crops and crop rotation was the key to reviving soil that had become unproductive due to the long-term cultivation of cotton; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver advocated the use of legumes to replace minerals depleted from the soil by cotton-growing. He advised, "Plant peanuts. That'll keep the soil productive. And the boll weevils don't attack peanuts"; and
WHEREAS, solving the problem with unproductive soil resulted in an abundant peanut crop which could not be marketed profitably and for which there very little use or demand. George Washington Carver soon set about discovering nearly 300 valuable uses to which the peanut could be put and, during his lifetime, peanut crops developed an annual value of $200 million; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver went on to develop various paint, dyes and medicinal treatments from peanuts, sweet potatoes and soybeans. He even developed a synthetic rubber, derived from goldenrod, for Henry Ford; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver steadfastly refused to accept an increase in his $125/month salary at Tuskegee or offers of more lucrative positions, including one from Thomas Edison that reportedly paid $100,000/year. He also declined to patent most of his discoveries believing that his intellect and industry were gifts from God that should be shared freely; and
WHEREAS, on July 14th, 1943, a mere six months after his death, George Washington Carver's birthplace near Diamond Grove was designated as a national monument; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver popularized agricultural extension programs at American universities; can be acknowledged as the father of modern plant science; and is recognized as one of the greatest scientific minds in American History; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver overcame enormous prejudice and poverty in his struggle from being identified merely as "Carver's George" to becoming the world renowned George Washington Carver, B.S., M.S., D.Sc., Ph.D., Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London, and Director of Research and Experiment at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver accomplished all of his many great deeds without a trace of bitterness, with total indifference to personal fortune, and thought only to make the world, America in particular, a better place for all mankind; and
WHEREAS, George Washington Carver in his modesty once stated, "I am no great person. I am no great scientist. I have only been able to point the way in a few things. After me will come those who read and interpret the signs, the great of the world. I am only the trailblazer".
1616 Missouri Boulevard shall henceforth be known as the George Washington Carver - State Office Building.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Matt Blunt, Governor of Missouri, by virtue and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the state of Missouri, do hereby dedicate and name the state office building, located at 1616 Missouri Boulevard, Jefferson City, Missouri, in honor of George Washington Carver; a great Missourian; a great American; a true humanitarian and a trailblazer in the field of agricultural science, technology and philanthropy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 7th day of February, 2006.
[Matt Blunt's signature]
[Robin Carnahan's signature]
Secretary of State