(Diamond, MO) – George Washington Carver National Monument is pleased to announce the park’s annual Carver Day celebration will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2023, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, celebrating the life of George Washington Carver and the establishment of the national monument in his honor. This year, they are commemorating the 80th anniversary of Carver’s passing and the subsequent establishment of the national park on July 14, 1943, the first one to honor an African American.
Carver Day celebrates the African American experience through speakers, storytelling, music, and educational programs. In keeping with Carver’s legacy of accessible and affordable education, Carver Day is free of charge.
This event features programs interpreting the life and legacy of George Washington Carver as well as guest speakers, musical groups, storytellers, a Junior Ranger station, food concession, guided tours, and exhibitors. The featured guest speakers include:
- Steve Sitton, the Site Supervisor at the Thomas Hart Benton Sate Historic Site in Kansas City, will share a presentation titled “Art, Race and Thomas Hart Benton” at 11:00 am. Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton was one of the first white artists to paint African American life, labor, culture, and inequality.
- Leo Landis, the Museum Curator for the State Historical Society of Iowa, will share insights into George Washington Carver’s time living in Iowa during his presentation “George Washington Carver, The Iowa Years” at 1:00 pm. Mr. Landis will explore critical years for Carver as a student and artist and during which time he made the decision to change his career path to become an agricultural scientist.
Music is a huge part of the Carver Day fun! Musical performers this year include:
- Cherry and Jerry, a ragtime duo from St. Louis, Missouri, will blend history and music together in their program “Early African American Composers.” This performance begins at 11:00 am and will include music by Scott Joplin, James Scott (who was born in Neosho, Missouri and raised in Carthage, Missouri), and other key figures in the genre who were popular in George Washington Carver’s time.
- Afrique Aya Drum and Dance Company from Fayetteville, Arkansas will perform traditional West African music and storytelling in a high-energy performance that is highly interactive and begins at 12:00 pm.
- Bright Star Touring Theatre, a national children’s touring theatre from Asheville, North Carolina, will perform Freedom Songs at 1:00 pm. This family-friendly, musical revue provides an energetic and engaging approach to learning about Black history. From songs that carried secret messages needed to navigate the Underground Railroad to the powerful anthems of the Civil Rights Movement and Beale Street Blues, music has long been an integral part of American history and is celebrated in this production.
- Lem Sheppard, a local musician who specializes in jazz, blues, and folk music, traces the history of African American music from both the North and South during his performance at 2:00 pm. He will perform African American music and stories from George Washington Carver’s lifetime and share the African American experience with visitors.
- Local church groups will also be invited to perform.
Carver Day is also a great time for kids to explore the park and connect to the child who was born there over 150 years ago. There will be guided tours, Junior Ranger activities, and more. The Diamond Lions Club will provide food concessions.
Carver Day is brought to you by the Carver Birthplace Association, the National Parks System’s Wellness Challenge, and Visit Joplin. The event is free and open to the public!
About George Washington Carver National Monument:
Administered by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver – scientist, educator, and humanitarian. The park is located two miles west of Diamond, Missouri on Highway V, then ¼ mile south on Carver Road. For more information, please call the park at 417.325.4151 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 pm, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/gwca, or visit the park Facebook page.
About the National Park Service:
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for the 424 parks in the National Park System and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
George Washington Carver National Monument