iowa state college

Black history month Day 7: American botanist and inventor George Washington Carver.

George Washington Carver was born a slave sometime in the 1860s, his exact date of birth is unknown. His master was Moses Carver, a German immigrant who had purchased George’s parents for $700. When George was only a week old, he, a sister, and his mother were kidnapped by night raiders from Arkansas to be sold in Kentucky. Moses Carver hired someone to retrieve them but he was only able to save baby George and his older brother James, who had been saved from the kidnapping.

After slavery was abolished, Moses and his wife basically adopted George and his brother James and raised them as their own, encouraging George’s intellectual pursuits and teaching him to read and write. Since black children were not allowed to be educated in the local school, George traveled to the school for black children 10 miles south and rented a room in that area to continue his education. He was determined to learn all he could in order to give back to people.

George was originally accepted at Highland College in Kansas, but was turned away once they discovered his race. Undeterred, George homesteaded some land where he started a small conservatory of plants, manually plowed over 16 acres of land, and worked as a ranch hand and other odd jobs. Eventually he received a $300 loan for his education, and begin studying art and piano at Simpson College. When his teacher noticed how skilled he was at painting plants, she urged him to pursue botany and he was accepted to Iowa State Agricultural College as their first black student. Eventually he took it one step further and became Iowa State’s first black faculty member after earning his masters.

Carver focused his efforts on developing alternative crops to cotton, hoping to better the lives and livelihood of poor farmers. He taught people how to grow things like sweet potatoes and peanuts, and came up with many different uses for this produce. He also taught naturally sustainable ways for rejuvenating nutrient depleted soil and getting the most out of your crops. He received numerous honors for his work in environmentalism, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. His success in scientific fields gained praise across racial barriers, with TIME Magazine once calling him “the black Leonardo”. Carver was even publicly admired by President Theodore Roosevelt.

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Happy May Day!
Photo [altered slightly by me]: Postcard from the 1913 May Day pageant at Iowa State College in Ames, IA.

A synopsis of the festivities was provided in the ISC yearbook:

“Early in the morning as dawn begins to break, low, sweet strains of music fill the air. After it is full daylight the winds and the clouds come up, followed by a heavy storm with flashes of lightning. Soon The Trumpet Flower awakens the flowers by a blast of her horn, and they appear two at a time.

"In the afternoon, the sun still shines, Columbia, who has been recently crowned queen by Robin Hood, welcomes her cousins, peasant girls from Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Italy, Holland and England. Each of them does a characteristic folk dance for the entertainment of the new queen. Some of the flower children give the Maypole dance just as the sun goes down.

"Immediately after sunset, the flowers go to bed and the queen holds an informal reception for her cousins and the friends among the flowers.”

10 Best College Game Day Experiences

How much can the atmosphere at a college football game vary from one location to another? After all, it’s the same sport. At each campus, the tailgating and game will feature the same major players: students, alumni, beverages, bands, beverages, food, beverages, cheerleaders, and beverages.Despite these common elements, the game day experiences at college campuses across the country reflect vast regional differences in food, fun, and temperament. Here’s a list of the 10 best game day experiences for your consideration.

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#Tbt to a time where I absolutely hated how I looked. My high school years were filled with times of low self-esteem and full of jealousy towards the girls who were skinny and gorgeous. I never liked to go anywhere and had high social anxiety, mainly due to the insecurities I had of myself. Fast-forward to now where I absolutely love myself, have lost some weight, and think I am quite adorable most times. I can’t get enough of taking selfies, making faces at myself in my bedroom mirror, and wanting to now venture out into public because it makes me feel better. I go out in shorts and dresses not caring about how bad my legs may look from cellulite and I no longer worry about what other people are thinking of me. I am so glad I dealt with low self-esteem at one point because it shows me where I no longer want to be and it helps me be more positive towards others when they make comments showing low self-esteem. I may not look perfect to any one else, but as long as I am happy with myself, that’s all I care for. I am so incredibly glad that my self-confidence arrived in the past few months.