|Thursday, Aug 6, 2009|
On Saturday, July 11th, George Washington Carver National Monument held its 66th annual Carver Day celebration. Approximately 900 visitors attended the event.
Carver Day commemorates the life of George Washington Carver and the establishment of the national monument (July 14, 1943) in his honor.
Visitors had the opportunity to enjoy local exhibitors and participate in several fun programs, including guided tours, peanut milk demonstrations, and junior ranger activities. Loretta Washington of St. Louis, a professional storyteller, amused visitors with African American folktales and personal stories growing up in the Missouri Boot Hill.
Music filled the air with performances from the Washington Avenue Baptist Church choir (Springfield, MO), the Shiloh Baptist Church choir (Joplin, MO), and Kufara, African marimba musicians (Joplin, MO). Reverend John Wilkins (Memphis, TN), a gospel blues singer, entertained visitors with many selections, including one of Carverâs favorite songs. Wilkins is the son of legendary blues singer Robert Wilkins.
The day would not have been complete without two outstanding guest speakers. Peter Duncan Burchard (Fairfax, CA), Carver scholar and author of George Washington Carver, A Great Soul, discussed Carverâs young life on the Moses Carver farm. Clifton Taulbert (Tulsa, OK), president and founder of the Building Community Institute and author of several books, including the bestselling memoir, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, praised Carverâs resilience in overcoming childhood tragedy and racial barriers to lead a life that benefited humanity.
The Carver Birthplace Association, the African American Experience Fund, and the Volunteers In Parks program (VIPs) helped to make the event possible and successful.
George Washington Carver National Monument is the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated to an African American.