For many years, a monument devoted to a local scientist has been hosting the Carver Day Celebration.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the George Washington Carver National Monument will host the annual event, with free activities for everyone.

“It is a day that we celebrate the establishment of the park, which was in 1943,” said Curtis Gregory, park ranger at the monument. “This is the 71st anniversary, as well as to accomplishment of George Washington Carver.”

Activities are scheduled throughout the day including storytelling, exhibitors, musical performances, guided tours, educational programs, children’s activities, Junior Ranger station and much more.  

Special speakers this year include Dr. Brian Johnson, president of Tuskegee University and Dr. Andrew Manu, professor of agronomy and first person appointed George Washington Carver Chair at Iowa State University.

Manu is developing a research area in the use of digital mapping of soils. Supporting African agriculture and environmental preservation, Manu is active in programs aimed at the extension of sustainable technologies for smallholder farmers and an advocate for prudent management of natural resources.

According to a press release from the monument, “Manu’s work is very much in the tradition of George Washington Carver, making him the ideal speaker for this Carver Day celebration.”   

Bright Star Tour Theatre will offer a production of “George Washington Carver and Friends,” an engaging and interactive play that promises fun for all ages. Musical performers include area church choirs, Lem Sheppard, blues, jazz and folk guitarist; Sensational Wonders; and gospel blues singer and guitarist, Rev. John Wilkins.

Also, the monument’s new film, “Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver,” will be shown at noon.

Recognition ceremonies will also be held for award winning park volunteers and the George Washington Carver scholarship recipient. The Diamond Lions Club will provide a food concession.

Gregory stated that the daylong event attracts between 800 to 1,200 visitors.

George was born a slave on the Moses and Susan Carver farm about 1864. When George was an infant, outlaws kidnapped him and his mother, Mary. George was later found in Arkansas and was returned to the Carvers, but his mother was never found.

Carver became famous later in life when he studied plants, flowers and invented several uses for the common peanut. He later taught at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and in 1921, he testified before a United States Congress House Committee debating a peanut tariff bill. On Jan. 5, 1943, Carver died at Tuskegee, where he is buried. In July 1943, Congress designated George Washington Carver National Monument, which was the first park to honor an African-American scientist, educator and humanitarian.

For more information, call the monument at 325-4151.