Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds officially declared Feb. 1 as George Washington Carver Day in Iowa. As a part of the day’s celebration at the World Food Prize, the Governor’s proclamation honored the impact and legacy of Carver’s work in Iowa and across the nation.

Carver was an innovator, renowned for his work in agriculture and the creation of hundreds of products like peanuts, sweet potatoes and other crops. He was born a slave but empowered himself to pursue college degrees at Simpson College and Iowa State University. Carver went on to serve as Iowa State University’s first Black faculty member, and he received several awards and honors during his lifetime.

George Washington Carver Day also kicks off February’s National Black History Month and serves as a reminder of Iowa’s rich history. Along with Carver’s achievements, there are other notable historical events that can be celebrated this month. Did you know:

  • Iowa was one of the first states in the union to legalize interracial marriage in 1851.
  • Iowa led the way in desegregating public schools. Schools were desegregated in 1868.
  • Iowa was home to the town of Buxton, where residents and businesses were fully integrated from 1895 through the 1920s.
  • Prominent Iowans such as Josiah B. Grinnell and James C. Jordan served as “conductors” on the Underground Railroad.
  • The first black Miss America candidate was Miss Iowa in 1970.

Educators, students and partners are invited to learn more about Carver and Black history in Iowa. For more information on National Black History Month, visit these local and national resources.