A work of art depicting one of the most prestigious scientist’s of the late 19th and early 20th century will now grace the walls of the State Capitol, according to Sen. Charles Ford, R-Tulsa.
A portrait of George Washington Carver in Tulsa, an African American who revolutionized the research methods and agricultural processes of the day was dedicated today in the Senate Chamber. Artist Mike Wimmer of Norman created the painting, which was sponsored by Sen. Maxine Horner, D-Tulsa.
Carver who was born into slavery, became the first African American faculty member at Iowa State University, and later joined Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. He received many honors and awards in his lifetime, including a museum at the Tuskegee Institute and a national monument at his birthplace in Diamond Grove, Missouri.
“The history behind this painting reflects the strength of the human spirit. Mr. Carver was born a slave, but overcame adversity to become one of the greatest scientists of his time. It’s a remarkable story,” noted Sen. Ford, President of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
In May 1929, George Washington Carver junior high school in Tulsa was dedicated. More than three thousand citizens, black and white, attended the ceremony.
“This great man could not figure out why anyone would want to name a structure or anything else after him,” said Ford. “His humility speaks volumes of his character. He was one of the great minds of his time.”
Sen. Horner was the first African American and the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Oklahoma Senate Democratic Caucus.
Horner said she believes man can learn from great people like Carver, who overcome adversity to obtain greatness and change the world.
“He is truly an inspiration. To think that he was born a slave, but didn’t let the social injustice hold him back,” Horner said. “I think Mr. Carver’s early life experience gave him the strength to become the great man he was.”
“I think we can all learn something about the strength of the human spirit from him. Everyone suffers some kind of prejudice or injustice in their lifetime, but we must be strong and overcome those obstacles. Who knows what we might achieve,” she added. “It is such an honor to sponsor this work of art.”
The portrait of Carver, along with other works of art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc., can be found on the Internet at www.oksenate.gov.