DIAMOND — This weekend, there will a special program on George Washington Carver at the GWC National Monument, Diamond.

DIAMOND — This weekend, there will a special program on George Washington Carver at the GWC National Monument, Diamond.
The Daily News caught up with Carver Park Ranger Diane Eilenstein about the program - “Honoring the Past, Building our Future: Remembering George Washington Carver” - which will be held at 11 a.m. today, Saturday and Sunday.  

NDN: What is the main purpose of the anniversary program?
Eilenstein: The goal of the program “Honoring the Past, Building our Future” is to honor the memory and legacy of George Washington Carver on the weekend marking 75 years since his passing. He passed away on Jan. 5, 1943.

NDN: What will     transpire during the Jan. 5-7 program?
Eilenstein: A park ranger will introduce each of two, 30-minute presentations. The first, Personal Perspectives, features oral history interviews with Carver’s contemporaries, recorded by Dr. Gary Kremer in 1989 in partnership with Carver Birthplace Association. The second, A Genius Remembered, was produced by Tuskegee University and features interviews with people who worked with him or were influenced by his legacy. Following the presentations, a brief, audience centered discussion about George Washington Carver’s life and legacy will take place. Visitors are invited share thoughts and questions.
Everyone is invited to attend this free event.

NDN: How important is this program?
Eilenstein: We are excited and pleased to make this commemorative program available as the kick off of the 75th anniversary of George Washington Carver National Monument. It focuses on remembering the past but also looks ahead to the future of the Monument.

NDN: What are you hoping for them to take away after the program?
Eilenstein: Perhaps the most important “take away” is the role mentors played in Carver’s life, supporting and encouraging him along the way. It is hoped that each visitor will connect with this aspect of George Washington Carver’s life story, considering who mentored them and conversely, who they mentor now.

NDN: What else will be going on in January for visitors to participate in relating to Carver's 75?
Eilenstein: All month, remembrance activities will be set up in the multipurpose room. Visitors may respond to writing prompts or create artwork to post on the walls!
• On Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service, Jan. 15, we are hosting a volunteer open house as a way to invite the public to become involved by volunteering during the year. Held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the come and go event is a great way to visit with staff and volunteers and find your place at George Washington Carver National Monument!
•  Jan. 18 marks the beginning of this season’s Coffee With Carver. At 10 a.m., a park ranger will share a new program on the history of this national park, the first unit of the National Park Service established to honor an African American. Rare photographs and documents from the 1940s and beyond will be available.

Also, Eilenstein encourages everyone during the entire month of January to  participate in activities in the multipurpose room to reflect upon and respond to Carver’s legacy. This program kicks off a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of George Washington Carver National Monument.

Background information
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 gave a captivating testimony 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 park at 325-4151.