5. George Washington Carver (America)
Born in to slavery in 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri, George Washington Carver was a popular American botanist and inventor who assisted poor farmers to grow alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, in order to improve their quality of life.
Carver spent many years developing and promoting many products made from peanuts, but none were commercially successful. The most famous of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 recipes that used peanuts.
He also, however, developed techniques that helped to improve soil depleted by the repeated planting of cotton. Carver received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1923. In 1941, Time magazine described him as a “Black Leonardo.”
Carver died in 1943 in Alabama.