Growing Influence

Carver was recognized by both black and white leaders, and in 1918 he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1923, Joel Elias Springarn, a white publisher and former chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, awarded Carver the Springarn Medal for Distinguished Service in Agricultural Chemistry. Carver received an honorary doctorate from Simpson College in 1928, and was made a member of the Royal Society of London, England.

Henry Ford became personal friends with Dr. Carver, being fascinated with his method of deriving rubber from milkweed. Mr. Ford visited him twice at Tuskegee Institute and tried many times to persuade Dr. Carver to join him in business. Carver declined, being committed to helping his people in the South. Mr. Ford built a replica of Dr. Carver’s birthplace at his Dearborn Village, and built a school for children named George Washington Carver School.

In 1923, Vice-President Calvin Coolidge visited George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, as did President Franklin D. Roosevelt later. Carver became a confidant and advisor to leaders and scientists from all over the world, ranging from Mohandas K. Gandhi to Thomas Edison. Edison offered him a six-figure income position at Menlo Park, but Carver turned it down. Even Josef Stalin invited him to come Russia in 1931.

On June 11, 1921, George W. Carver wrote to his old professor from Iowa State College, Dr. Louis H. Pammel, who had visited him at Tuskegee:

Everyone wanted to hear you speak. I really wanted you to see the suit of clothes,hat, gloves, underwear, you helped fool me down town and bought for me, preparatory to going to Cedar Rapids to the Art exhibit with some of my pictures….

Of course my microscope is just as good as new. I was glad to see that God had dealt so kindly with you, by giving you increased bodily vigor, great mental attainments, etc.

When you were going out of your way to help a poor insignificant black boy, you were giving many “cups of cold water” in His name. The memory of yourself, Mrs. Pammel and the children are more dear to me than words can express. They served as lamps unto my feet and lights along my pathway…

Sincerely and gratefully yours,

G.W. Carver 18

On September 3, 1922, George Carver wrote to Mrs. Helen Milholland:

My dear Mrs. Milholland,

How glad I was to get your card…. I wonder if you have seen the little book entitled Handicapped Winners written by Miss Sara Estelle Haskin, Educational Secy. of the Board of Missions, Woman’s work, M.E. South. It is written for their Schools, with the hope that it will bring about a better feeling for the negro. It was published by their publishing house…. It has the

“Peanut Wizard” in it. Your name appears in it also…

God is blessing me more and more every day it seems. I hardly think you would know me now I am quite gray, but pretty active yet.

Sincerely and gratefully yours,

Geo. W. Carver 22

On September 17, 1922, George W. Carver wrote again to Mrs. Helen Milholland, complimenting the draft of a biography she was publishing on him:

My dear Mrs. Milholland,

How glad I was to get your good letter it seems so refreshing to hear from you….

No, the book does not even approach yours and I believe God in some way will provide a way for yours to come out, I am anxious for you to see this little book because it is to be put into their schools, for the information of the white boys and girls down here who seem to know so little about many types of colored people….

Sincerely yours,

Geo. W. Carver 23

George Washington Carver developed a lifelong friendship with Mr. James T. Hardwick from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. James’ brother, Harry Hardwick, was the head football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1923, George Washington Carver commented to Mr. Hardwick:

In my work I meet many young people who are seeking truth. God has given me some knowledge. When they let me, I try to pass it on to my boys. 24

A close friend of George Carver from Iowa State College was Professor Henry C. Wallace, who later became President Warren G. Harding’s Secretary of Agriculture. His son, Henry A. Wallace, later studied under Carver at Iowa State, going on numerous nature hikes. Henry A. Wallace succeeded his father as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and later served as Vice-President under Franklin D. Roosevelt. He described Carver as the “kindliest, most patient teacher I ever knew.” 25

On January 6, 1924, George W. Carver wrote to his former Professor, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace:

I had been thinking of you more than usual here of late and “How God” had called you to perform the great service to humanity that you are now rendering.

I pray that He may continue to give you the guiding light that has attended your administration up to date in such a pronounced way.

Of course I never can repay you for being so kind, and indulgent to a poor little wayward black boy when in school. I wish that God in some way would show you how I appreciate it, and reward you accordingly….

Geo. W. Carver 26

On May 21, 1924, George W. Carver wrote to Mr. James T. Hardwick:

My very dear friend, Mr. Hardwick,

My friend, God has indeed been good to me and is yet opening up wonders and allowing me to peep in as it were. I do love the things God has created, both animate and inanimate. As He speaks aloud through both, God willing, at Blue Ridge we will let Him talk to some of us.

You do me too much credit. I am not so good. I am just trying through Christ, to be a better man each day. Your spirit helps me so much. It is what my very soul has thirsted for all these years, a spirit that God likewise was developing to perform a great service to humanity, such as he is developing in you….

My “horoscope” tells me that God is yet going to do some thing for you that will astonish you…..Sincerely yours,

Geo. W. Carver 27

On July 10, 1924, George W. Carver wrote to Mr. James T. Hardwick of Virginia:

Fri. morning. Dear Friend, I feel your loving spirit more than ever this morning. Thank God I feel the growth of the spirit within you.

My Beloved Friend, Mr. Hardwick:

What a joy always comes to me when I recognized your handwriting in the mail. I always say “bless his heart” meaning a letter from my beloved friend who is more dear to me than any words can express.

I love you and shall continue to do so for the Christ that is in you, both expressed and unexpressed. I love you also because Christ loves you and longs for you to come into the fullness of his glory.

Your words, my friend, are too strong. There is no danger of your being a hypocrite. You are struggling. You have not lost sight of self yet, but Thank God, you will.

As soon as you begin to read the great and loving God out of all forms of existence He has created, both animate and inanimate, then you will be able to Converse with Him, anywhere, everywhere, and at all times. Oh, what a fullness of joy will come to you. My dear friend, get the significance. God is speaking. “Look unto the hills from whence cometh thy help. Yes, go to the mountains if God so wills it.”

Get ready to come down here for a week or so, should God ask you to do so. Somehow God seems to say to me that this may be so.

For months this vision from times to time comes to me. I think God wants you to begin reading Nature of your own accord first, then when you come here you will learn to interpret it with great rapidity. It may not be here. I may be thrown with you somewhere. Whatever the method is you must learn. Let us pray for guidance.

I have had eight letters from the boys already. Have heard from everyone in the cottage where I stayed. Two of them are coming down soon, they say.

Two have sent their pictures and others are coming. You and those other boys are all wrong. It is not me. I love you because I love Christ in you and whenever you reveal it I cannot help but love it. I loved those boys because Christ was there. As for you, my friend, you belong to me. You are mine. God gave you to me last year. I picked you out of the audience. If I remember correctly while speaking, those great spiritual windows (the eyes) of yours seemed to say, this is the person whom I have chosen to be a great help to you. You need him and maybe you can be of a little service to him. From that very time until now I have loved you so dearly.

God cannot use you as He wishes until you come into the fullness of his Glory. Don’t get alarmed, friend, when doubts creep in. That is Old Satan. Pray, pray, pray. Neither be cast down or afraid if perchance you seem to wander from the path. This is sure to come to you if you trust too much in self.

Yes, my friend, you are going to grow. Your letters are always such a comfort to me. Do not get away somewhere and fail to write me regularly. You are now a part of my life and I long for your letters. Well, we both prayed that God would bless the message He sent me to deliver. He really seemed to bless it. At some of the personal interviews the boys wept. I have held my head and wept many times when I read so many of the letters they have written to me.

I fall, my friend, so far short of yours and their rating. God has already told you to go to the Mountains and commune with Him. Why not carry it out without He gives you a new message.

Oh, my friend, I am praying that God will come in and rid you entirely of self so you can go out after souls right, or rather have souls to seek the Christ in you. This is my prayer for you always.

Geo. W. Carver 28

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