The c@stration of George Washington Carver
By Yolanda Spivey
I came across an interesting clip from the popular documentary, “Hidden Colors 3.” In it, legendary comedian, writer, and activist Dick Gregory, gave a brief assessment on racism in America. He also said something that was quite startling—George Washington Carver was a victim of castration.
George Washington Carver who is known as one of America’s greatest scientist was born into slavery sometime in 1864. Much of his early life was unknown; but what we do know about this great man is that he was the inventor of many food products that eventually became everyday staples in the diets of Americans.
Carver who never married, devoted much of his time to science and kept himself busy with a plethora of hobbies such as knitting, painting, sewing, and of course his research as it related to agriculture.
Gregory insisted that George Washington Carver was stripped of his dignity and manhood. When Carver was a little boy, he was castrated by the man who owned him. Allegedly, Carver became a house servant and since he was going to spend a majority of time in the house, his owner didn’t want him to rape his daughter, so he took away his ability to mature into a full functioning adult male.
What was also startling about this story is hearing the actual voice of Carver. It was quite high pitched—I can’t even describe it.
So I had to do my research.
While some research states that Carver’s voice was high pitched due to scarring on this throat as a result of developing whooping cough as a child, others state that castration was much likely the cause.
In her 1981 book George Washington Carver: Scientist and Symbol, author Linda O. McMury notes that when asked why he wasn’t married, Carver vaguely alluded to friends in 1937 that an unpleasant event from his past prevented him from every marrying or having children. He never specified what happened.
Authors Harley Flack and Edmund D. Pellegrino stated in their 1992 book African-American Perspectives on Biomedical Ethics, that Carver had his critical body parts removed by a “Dr. Dιck.” The authors stated that the incident took place when Carver was only 11 years old and he actually approved of the procedure, as he didn’t want to be seen as a threat to society. He also wanted an education and dedicated his life to service. The authors state that Carver’s owner put the young man through the procedure because he “needed a new house servant and companion for his daughter.”
Further proof came from biographer Peter Burchard, who in 2010 did an interview with Iowa Public Radio in which he suggested that c@stration was also a factor. Burchard stated that a person close to Carver spoke with the doctors who examined him when he died and confirmed that where there should’ve been testicles, there was scar tissue.
What the hell?
In renaissance times, it was quite common that Eunuchs (men who’d had their reproductive organs removed) be used to guard the castle in many European countries. The King would put these Eunuchs in place because they knew that it would be impossible for them to carry on s-xual relationships with the Queen and Princess’s of the castle. It’s only feasible to assume that the practice was carried over into slavery.
Although I wasn’t able to gather concrete evidence, I came across many websites that suggested that Black slaves in America were often c@strated if they were assigned to work in the homes of their Masters.
Carver’s voice never fully developed because it’s possible that his male hormones never developed properly. Throughout most of his life, people thought he was a homosexual. At one point, he courted a woman by the name of Sarah L. Hunt for three years. But historians suggested that the union lasted until she took a teaching position in California.
Why am I bringing up old stuff again? Because this is another example of the atrocities committed against Black men in this country. I saw George Washington Carver one way before I learned about this atrocity. Now I see him as a victim. Yes, he created a great legacy for himself and is down in the history books as one of the greatest scientist to ever grace American soil. But his right to reproduce was traded in for such an accolade. His right to marry and have sexual relations was stripped away from him.
Nevertheless, he is again one of the greatest scientists in America’s history.
To hear a compilation of this great man’s voice, please click here!
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