JOPLIN — On Saturday, the Carver Birthplace Association (CBA) will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver at the annual Carver Commemorative Dinner.
The event will be held from 3-5 p.m. at Logan's Roadhouse, 209 N. Range Line Rd., Joplin.
"This is our 50th anniversary as a non-profit organization in Missouri," said Krista Stark, director and development specialist for (CBA). "And it is the 70th anniversary of Dr. Carver's death. We celebrate this event on the date of his passing, because we don't know the date of his birth, it is not known."
The program – which is open to the public – will include a variety of items. Those in attendance must RSVP to 437-8443 by today. Also, those in attendance must pay for their own dinner and drinks, Stark noted.
"That evening, we are going to be having speakers, we will have speakers on our Neosho Colored Schoolhouse renovation project and historic research study," she said. "CBA owns the building that incases what use to be the Neosho Colored Schoolhouse, the school that actually dr. carver walked to from his home in diamond as a child. A silent auction and raffle items, door prizes, we will have a CBA member Mikki Johnson who will be doing a Carver commemorative speech. We always try to do some sort of commemoration, last year we did poetry readings, this year she is doing 'Carver in Memory.'"
Thus far, 40 people have RSVP'd for the event. Stark noted the room will hold 60 people.
Over the years, the birthplace association has done a lot for the monument and to help keep Carver's life alive.
According to the main purpose of the CBA, "(it) exists to encourage the scientific, educational, historical, and interpretive activities of the National Park Service at the George Washington Carver National Monument and to promote the legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver."
"We do know, however, that CBA helped to even write the initial letter writing campaign that brought the park into existence," Stark said. "CBA has been partners in some form or another with George Washington Carver National Monument since before its designation as a national monument."
According to information provided about the CBA, the association has:
• CBA has formed new cooperative agreements with monument that allow CBA to continue CBA's tradition of close partnership. One of the agreements allows CBA to begin work on the Neosho Colored Schoolhouse Project, and the other allows CBA to continue CBA tradition of both financial and interpretative support for monument events and activities.
• CBA awarded the Carver Commemorative Scholarship to a local Diamond High School graduate in 2012, assisting Jessica Johnson in continuing her education at Crowder College, Neosho.
• CBA sponsored monument activates in 2012, including the Annual Art and Essay competition and ceremony for area fourth graders, as well as Art in the Park, the 69th Annual Carver Day, and the 2012 Prairie Day Celebration. CBA pays for all of the advertising and food related items for these events, as well as helping with compensation for various performers and volunteer expenses.
Page 2 of 2 - Another key aspect deals with the restoration of the Neosho Colored Schoolhouse.
"This property is owned by CBA and will become a site for both historic preservation and interpretative educational opportunity through the partnership of association and the monument," according to the press release.