Raised in slavery, George Washington Carver persevered to become one of America's most renowned scientists and environmentalists. That extraordinary arc is explored in the informative and inspiring documentary George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life.
The film touches upon the highlights and challenges of Carver's life with great compassion and perceptiveness. With the help of noted scholars across a variety of fields, viewers not only gain a sense of Carver's titanic accomplishments, but of the personal obsessions that drove them into existence.
Following his freedom from slavery as a young man, Carver grew up as "the orphaned child of a despised race". He developed an early and deep love of nature that would define his later life. He recognized a feeling of divinity in his natural surroundings and made it his mission to harvest the elements to create a better life for others. Treasuring mindfulness and wastefulness, he found his ultimate freedom when he indulged his insatiable sense of wonder and curiosity.
He was enlisted by Booker T. Washington to serve as a Professor of Agriculture at Tuskegee University in Alabama, a position he maintained with great pride for nearly a half a century. His arrival in the South forced him to question his preconceptions of the region, instilled in him a renewed sense of purpose, and opened his eyes to exploring new dimensions in farming. Through his work, he revolutionized the field of agriculture and, in the process, improved the lives of lower-income African American farming families. He lived by the motto that "service defines success". At his center, he was a conservationist whose ideas were ahead of their time.
The film traces Carver's troubled origins, the influences that shaped him as he grew into adulthood, the faith that guided his call to service, and the love of humanity that led to many of his most consequential accomplishments. An artist, geologist, scientist, poet and biblical scholar, Carver was a true Renaissance man whose legacy continues to inspire later generations.
George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life is an essential portrait of one of the great figures in both American and world history.
Directed by: Laurel Bower