Portrait bust of Dr. George Washington Carver from Inge Haridson's "Negro Giants in History" series. Dr. George Washington Carver (1860-1943) was an agricultualist and educator, best known for his research and promotion of sustainable agriculture and agricultural alternatives to cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes, both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life.
Born into slavery, Carver stated "the primary idea in all of my work was to help the farmer and fill the poor man's dinner pail." In 1906, Carver designed a mobile school called the Jesup Wagon, outfitted with agricultural products and equipment, to spread knowledge of scientific agriculture to Alabama farmers. The products he made from the peanut and the soybean revolutionized the economy of the South by liberating it from an over-dependence on cotton.
In seeing the need for heroes in today's world, Inge Hardison (1904-) created the series of sculpted portraits titled, "Negro Giants in History," for which she is best known today. The mantle-size busts were a response to the omission of Black Americans in the national Hall of Fame in Washington DC.
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia Ms. Hardison attended Tennessee A&I University, Vassar College, and the Arts Students League during the 1930’s. Haridson created a 24 inch portrait of Sojourner Truth, which was presented to Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Ms. Haridson, still creating her sculpted portraits in her Harlem apartment has said, “During my long life I have enjoyed using different ways to distill the essences of my experiences so as to share for the good they might do in the lives of others.”
The Robbins Center Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, gift of The Robbins Center For Cross Cultural Communication, in memory of Warren M. Robbins