The Spiritual Power of the George Washington Carver National Monument

Audrey Peterman, a long-time advocate of natural and cultural American treasures, describes the transformative nature of the first-ever national monument dedicated to honor an African American.

This is a transcript of the video.

Audrey Peterman, president and cofounder, Earthwise Productions: One of my all-time favorite national monuments is the George Washington Carver National Monument outside Diamond, Missouri, that protects the birthplace of the famous agricultural scientist.

It was the first national monument that was ever dedicated to anyone who was not a president. Of course, it was also the first national monument ever dedicated to honor an African American.

He was an enslaved person. As a little boy, he would get up at four o'clock in the morning. He would go into the woods in his secret garden and putter around with the plants. He said he would literally talk to God. When he got into the woods, he felt as though an entity had just been there before him.

I was able to walk across the little stream from which he drew water. Oh my God, I was able to touch trees that would have been there when he was there. It was a transformative experience.

For months after, all I could think of was his statement that nature is a giant broadcasting system through which God speaks to us every hour, if we would only listen. It's such an elevating thing to be able to walk in the footsteps of great American leaders, great human beings.

I felt so deeply, closely connected to him because the place where he had been was still there relatively untouched, undeveloped, because it had been made into a national monument for the benefit of the American people.

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