"George Washington Carver devoted his life to research projects connected primarily with southern agriculture. The products he derived from the peanut and the soybean revolutionized the economy of the South by liberating it from an excessive dependence on cotton.
Born a slave in the spring of 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri, Carver was only an infant when he and his mother were abducted from his owner's plantation by a band of slave raiders. His mother was sold and shipped away, but Carver was ransomed by his master in exchange for a race horse.
While working as a farm hand, Carver managed to obtain a high school education. He was admitted as the first black student of Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa. He then attended Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) where, while working as the school janitor, he received a degree in agricultural science in 1894. Two years later he received a master's degree from the same school and became the first African American to serve on its faculty. Within a short time his fame spread, and Booker T. Washington offered him a post at Tuskegee."
"Perhaps the legend most often told to" younger audiences, such as little children, "is that Carver "invented peanut butter." This legend, and the related legend that Carver invented 300-plus peanut products, derive from Carver's years of research into novel end-uses for southern crops other than cotton, whose monoculture was depleting southern soils. Carver himself made it clear that he used recipe books and other sources when compiling (for example) his booklet How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing It for Human Consumption." 
The African American Almanac, 7th Ed. Thomson Gale.
Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Thomson Gale.