EXT. RAILROAD STATION CHEHAW - MORNING
A colored BOY drives up hastily in a buggy, looking around. Carver is wearing a baggy gray suit, always with a flower in his lapel, and an old cap. He is scrounging in the bushes near the tracks picking selected plants.
BOY BUGGY DRIVER
Hey you, have you seen a Mr. Carver
waiting for a ride to the Institute?
Carver amiably walks over and gets in the carriage.
I'm Mr. Carver,
and I haven't been waiting.
I've been acquainting myself
with your growing things.
BOY BUGGY DRIVER
Can you tell me what plant this is?
BOY BUGGY DRIVER
Yes, sir. That's a weed.
Over there, yes.
But every plant has a name,
and most of them a beneficial purpose.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - MORNING
Washington and Carver are walking through a dusty, eroded campus with a few shacks and a couple of large buildings, notably Alabama Hall in brick.
I can see there is much to be done---
with the problem of soil erosion alone!
That's Alabama Hall
built with bricks we made ourselves.
The students do as much of the work here
as they can with the equipment we have.
Here they can learn practical trades,
and go out and help our people with their skill.
I've been preparing myself
for this work for many years.
I feel this practical education is the key
to unlock the golden door
of freedom to our people.
I read your Atlanta speech,
and I say "Amen" to all you said.
I believe you have the correct solution
to the race problem.
If you can teach us agriculture,
we can move forward as never before.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS BY THE AGRICULTURE HALL - DAY
Washington and Carver are entering the new building that is almost completed.
Where is the laboratory?
This is the Agriculture Hall
being built by students.
INT. AGRICULTURE HALL - DAY
Washington and Carver look around the bare new building.
Can I see the laboratory?
You can see there is plenty of space.
I see. You're giving me the space and---
And God has given you the brains.
Well, then together we'll manage a laboratory.
INT. AGRICULTURE CLASSROOM - DAY
Carver is in front of a class of about a dozen students. Willie comes in angry and depressed.
Are you Professor Carver?
Yes. What would you like?
I got kicked out of shoe-making
and was given farming as punishment;
so they sent me to you.
I hate farming;
I've done it all my cotton-pickin' life!
I asked you, "What would you like?"
I'd like to do something new.
"The few who strike out without map or chart
Where never a man has been,
From the beaten path they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.
Their deeds they hunger alone to do,
Though battered and bruised and sore,
They blaze the trail for the many who
Do nothing not done before.
The things that haven't been done before
Are the tasks worthwhile today;
Are you one of the flock that follows, or
Are you one who will lead the way?
Are you one of the timid souls that quail
At the jeers of a doubting crew,
Or dare you, whether you win or fail,
Strike out for the goal that's new?"
Today we're going to do something
that's never been done before.
We're going to go out and find the materials
we need for our laboratory.
We need containers, pans,
jars, tubes, lamps, and stuff.
Some of you go to the junk heap,
and others go into town
and ask housewives for old kitchen utensils,
anything they can't use.
But be polite now,
and don't take anything without asking.
God knows what we need,
and He will direct us.
Shall we go?
They all enthusiastically get up to go.
EXT. TUSKEGEE JUNKYARD - DAY
Carver and the students are gathering all kinds of odds and ends, and placing them in a wagon---bottles, jar lids, pans, pots, rubber, rags, loose handles, wire, flatirons, etc.
How about this box, Professor?
Sure. Put those bottles, lids,
and pieces of metal there in it
and place it in the wagon.
What about this old lamp, Professor?
By all means.
INT. AGRICULTURE CLASS - DAY
All the stuff is piled on tables and on the floor. Carver is looking it all over as the students watch and assist him. The lantern has been blackened leaving a pin hole of light directed at the microscope. An ink bottle with a piece of string running through a cork for a wick is being used as a Bunsen burner. A large teacup and the end of a broomstick are being used as a mortar and pulverizer. Jars and bottles have been cut to be used as beakers. Chemicals are situated in labeled jar lids.
Some one take these pieces of tin
and punch holes in them,
each with a different size nail.
What will we use them for?
To strain soil samples in different grades.
Noticing there are still others just watching, and seeing a tangled wad of string, he picks it up and compares it to a neatly coiled old string from a box.
This is useless---the result of ignorance.
Now this is intelligence.
He looks again at the two standing around, and catching his glance, they get busy untangling the string.
EXT. TUSKEGEE FARM - MORNING
Some FARMERS are standing around laughing and commenting as they watch Carver operating a two-horse plow. Students in his class are dumping muck from the swamps and leaf mold on the plots.
So this is the new Experiment Station, huh!
Gotta be the worst farm land in Alabama.
They tried growin' on it before
and lost sixteen dollars and fifty cents an acre.
The idea of a professor plowing!
They laugh. Carver comes over to them smiling. An older student takes over the plow.
Good morning, gentlemen.
We're reconditioning the soil.
Most of the muck they're placing on there
is from the swamp and the woods over here.
He commands some students; then he speaks to the farmers again.
Now clean the barns and bring the drippings.
I found a pumpkin vine growing out of
the kitchen waste and trash heap
thirty-seven feet long with large pumpkins on it
growing all by itself.
A student MESSENGER comes up to Carver.
The company we asked for fertilizer
sent this letter back, Professor Carver.
Read it to us, please.
"We sympathize with your desire
for experimentation on Southern soils,
but we want to be frank with you:
we are convinced there is only one colored man
who is capable of conducting
such a scientific experiment,
and he, unfortunately, is in Iowa."
Dr. Washington is writing back to tell 'em
you're here to do it, Professor.
The messenger leaves, and with new respect from the farmers, one of them asks Carver a question.
What variety of cotton
you gonna plant, Professor?
First I'm going to plant cowpeas.
Carver walks back to his work as the farmers laugh and ridicule.
They is only fit for hogs to eat!
They laugh some more. A student nearby reacts with surprise and disappointment and with a little disgust.
Help those roots get down where the good is.
INT. AGRICULTURE CLASS - DAY
The number of students is growing steadily. Carver is lecturing.
A thorough mastery of the soil is necessary
to keep all the mineral elements there
in proper quantity and form
to supply the needs of the particular crop.
Now what good are cowpeas?
They give nitrogen to the soil.
Where does it come from?
From the air.
This saves buying nitrogen fertilizer,
and gives the crop what it needs.
The land can only produce from what is in it.
And the nourishment of an animal or man
comes from what's in the plant.
INT. CARVER'S SMALL ROOM - SUNDAY AFTERNOON
A few students are sitting around talking to Carver.
What do you think of tobacco, Professor?
If God had intended the human nose
to be used for a chimney
He would have turned our nostrils up.
You can tell an unhappy person
by the vertical lines in the face.
Let the wrinkles in your forehead
always be lengthwise in a smile.
The students laugh and kid each other about their new wrinkles as they practice.
Unless of course you see something
that ought to be frowned upon.
Then don't hesitate.
INT. AGRICULTURE CLASS - DAY
Carver begins class by getting the attention of the jabbering students.
You never saw a heavy thinker
with his mouth open.
They quiet down.
"To him, who in the love of nature
holds communion with her visible forms,
she speaks a various language."
Young people, I beg you,
always keep your eyes and ears open
to what Mother Nature has to teach you.
You will learn valuable things every day.
He holds up his hand and a leaf.
Do you see how the veins of my hand
are like the veins in this leaf?
Now take the leaf you have brought in today
and make a careful drawing of it.
Students have been working on their drawings. A GIRL is in front drawing on the blackboard.
Is this about right, Professor?
It's either right or wrong.
About right still isn't right.
If you come to a five-foot ditch
and jump only four feet,
you might as well have saved
the effort of the jump,
because you'll end up in the mud.
Oh, I quit.
As long as you're working on it,
I'll help you,
but if you quit
I won't waste my time with you.
Just do it.
Well, what's wrong with it?
These lines here are at the wrong angle.
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Booker T. and his brother John H. Washington are discussing Carver.
JOHN H. WASHINGTON
A two-horse plow!
We don't need some Yankee scientist
comin' down here to tell us farmin'.
We need a good dairyman.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Now his ideas may seem strange to you---
There is a knock on the door, and Carver enters.
Good afternoon, gentlemen.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Oh Professor Carver, my brother and I
were just discussing some of your requests.
Exactly my reason to see you, sir.
The office has continually delayed me.
I still have no rooms to unpack my goods.
The room I have is full of mice,
and they're into my boxes.
I want a medical journal,
so I can prescribe for a sick animal,
but it's boxed up, and I can't get at it.
Please, while I am with you,
won't you fix it up,
so I can be of as much service as possible?
I don't mind the office people
scoffing at my experiments,
but I can't have them deciding what I do.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
The Agriculture Hall is almost ready,
but I'll see that you have another room until then.
Thank you, sir. Good day.
INT. ENTOMOLOGY CLASS - DAY
The students are joking about the strange bug they have put together for Professor Carver.
ENTOMOLOGY STUDENT #1
A perfectly glued specimen
of the head of a giant ant, antennae of a moth,
body of a beetle, and the legs of a spider.
ENTOMOLOGY STUDENT #2
I wonder what the Professor will say.
As Carver walks in, all the students sit down.
ENTOMOLOGY STUDENT #1
Professor, we found this strange bug,
and we were hoping you could identify it for us.
Carver examines it quickly.
I think this is what we would call a humbug.
They all laugh.
INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING
Several agriculture students are eating a meal prepared by Carver and enjoying it very much.
How does it taste?
Am I a decent cook?
These pancakes and cornbread are delicious.
The salad greens are good.
I've never tasted meatloaf like this before;
it's a nice change. What's it made out of?
Everything here was prepared
from those cowpeas we grew on the farm.
They react in surprise.
We sure must be hungry then.
They said those are only fit to throw to hogs.
Preparing a meal that is pleasant to the taste
is as important as the nourishment in it.
Otherwise, nobody's gonna eat it.
And this is good in both.
What are we going to plant now,
EXT. TUSKEGEE FARM - DAY
Students are bringing in the harvest of sweet potatoes and soybeans.
This must be a record sweet potato crop.
What are these beans called again, Professor?
Soybeans. They grow a lot of them in China.
Farmers approach Carver.
Well, you've done all right
on cowpeas and sweet potatoes,
but what about cotton?
That's the cash crop, you know.
I've been rotating crops.
The soil has been rested, refreshed, and enriched.
Now, we'll grow cotton.
Hmph. What does a northern schoolteacher
know about cotton?
They laugh in scorn.
INT. WILSON'S OFFICE IN WASHINGTON D.C. - DAY
Wilson and Carver are in conference together.
George, I'm glad you
could come here to Washington.
You have added numerous vegetable drugs
and plant remedies to our records.
Is there anything I could do for you?
If you could come to Tuskegee
to dedicate the new agriculture building,
it would boost the Institute to have
the Secretary of Agriculture
make a special trip for us.
You can announce it.
INT. TUSKEGEE COUNCIL ROOM - DAY
Dr. Washington sits in the middle of the T-shaped tables with Carver on his right and his secretary on his left. The meeting has not begun yet. Some professors conspiring to show up Carver have brought several plants in for him to identify. They also have a list of their common names and a textbook to look them up in. Carver is reading a report and looks up briefly to identify each plant.
Now we'll see what he knows.
Excuse us, Professor, can you tell us
the name of this plant?
That? Datura stramonium,
or what is called Jimson weed.
They check it with their list and textbook.
What about this?
That's Asarum canadense, wild ginger.
Carver goes back to his report.
Here, give me those.
He takes the rest of them and rattles off their names.
This is Ambrosia artemsiiflora - ragweed.
That is Oenothera biennis - evening primrose.
Here is Marrubium vulgare - horehound,
Dioscorea villosa - wild yam,
and Sarracenia purpurea - pitcherplant.
There, it's done.
The professors hopelessly lost and confused trying to keep up with him, retreat realizing he knows what he is talking about. Washington stands and speaks to the group.
I'm happy to say that due to Professor Carver's
personal friendship and invitation to Mr. Wilson,
the Secretary of Agriculture will be here
to dedicate the Agriculture Hall.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - NIGHT
Students line the driveways holding homemade torches of sugar cane stalks, cotton balls and oil as the buggy with Dr. Washington, Mr. Wilson with a tall silk hat, and Carver drives on to the campus. They shout together. Skyrockets go off in the air.
Hooray for Secretary Wilson!
Hooray for Dr. Washington!
Hooray for Professor Carver!
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS SPEAKER'S PLATFORM - DAY
Dr. Washington is addressing the crowd. Behind him are seated Mr. Wilson and Carver.
For we made these bricks
and constructed this building with our own hands,
and we know that by the fruits of our labors,
not only in the industrial sciences,
but now also even more in agriculture,
that we shall prosper here at Tuskegee
and by the intrinsic worth of hard work
and educated skill and community service
we shall spread this prosperity throughout the South.
Agriculture is not just beginning at Tuskegee,
but now it is certainly beginning in a new way.
The crowd applauds, and the choir starts singing a spiritual, perhaps "We are Climbing Jacob's Ladder."
INT. NEW LABORATORY IN AGRICULTURE HALL - MORNING
Carver is testing soils and writing down his results, answering letters, etc. WALTER KEYS, a student, comes in.
Whatcha' doin', Professor?
Testing soils for some of the farmers in the area.
Okay if I clean up for ya'?
If the people would eat
more vegetables, fruits and herbs,
they wouldn't suffer from pellagra.
They're sayin' you're a regular root-doctor
when they seen ya gatherin' plants at dawn.
Cure their ailments and everything.
It's just a question of
getting the proper nourishment.
Walter is about to dump a dust pan full of dirt in the trash barrel when Carver notices something.
Hey, what's that?
Dirt. I'm throwin' it out. It's all tested.
Walter, what do you see there?
Well, sir, some of it's sandy,
and some is stuck in lumps.
There's a few broken stems and roots.
But the colors, Walter,
do you see the reds and yellows,
browns, blues and purples?
That's just the way the clay is around here.
I seen it all my life.
What do you want me to do with it?
I don't know.
I have to talk to God about this.
Carver puts on his jacket and walks out.
EXT. SWAMP - MORNING
Carver is walking through the marshes lost in thought when he slips and falls in a mud-hole. He struggles to his feet and begins to use his handkerchief to wipe off his clothes. When his handkerchief is all covered with mud, he washes it out in some muddy water and is amazed to find that the blue color stays in the cloth. He thinks to himself.
CARVER (v. o.)
Thank you, Mr. Creator.
I think I see what this is.
INT. CARVER'S LAB - EVENING
Carver has been straining, washing out and separating the color elements from mud. He takes a cooked mixture and pours some in a tray, washes out the rocks and grit, then pours off the water, leaving a yellow paste. He takes his finger and dips into it and spreads it on a piece of wood.
CARVER (v. o.)
It is paint.
The people around here
have been walking on good durable paint.
Thank you, Lord,
for revealing this for our use.
EXT. TUSKEGEE FARM - DAY
The students are harvesting the record cotton crop while some farmers, white as well as black, look on.
Well, Carver, that's fine-lookin' cotton.
How much commercial fertilizer did ya use?
None for this planting.
We grew cowpeas and sweet potatoes
to improve the soil,
and used our own compost.
A five-hundred-pound bale per acre.
Yes, sir, a five-hundred-pound bale per acre!
Our Professor here sure knows how to grow cotton.
I guess only niggers and mules
are good at workin' cotton.
INT. CARVER'S ROOM - SUNDAY AFTERNOON
A few students are sitting around listening to Carver.
Contact your Creator.
Learn how to tune in with Him.
He will work miracles through you.
Seek guidance from Him,
and He will give you
happiness, prosperity, and peace.
How did we harvest record crops
of sweet potatoes and cotton?
By improving the soil.
We learned God's laws and principles
and how to apply them.
We worked in love and enthusiasm for our task.
So naturally our plants gave back in their way
what we gave to them.
They gave us their fruits.
Yes. In the Psalms we read, "O Lord,
how manifold are Thy works,
in wisdom hast Thou made them all."
There is no argument between God and science.
Our Creator uses science as a tool to teach us.
Professor, you ought to give a Bible class.
INT. CHAPEL - EVENING
The Tuskegee choir is singing "I Gotta Home Inna That Rock," and Carver joins in singing.
INT. CHAPEL - NIGHT
Carver is playing the piano in the dark, shifting from Handel to Mendelssohn to spirituals. Some students sneak in behind him listening to the beautiful music. Carver gets up to leave and notices the group listening.
We heard ya playin', Professor.
Sure was pretty.
You aren't supposed to be here.
It's almost time for bed.
We couldn't help listenin'.
A student lights a lamp.
What do you wish?
I wish my Ma could hear you play.
Singin' is the only music we get back home.
Maybe singing is enough music.
No t'ain't. You could play in the Baptist Church.
And at our church, too.
I don't know.
Professor, you tell us
we should give to others what we got,
and you got music!
INT. TREASURER LOGAN'S OFFICE - DAY
Logan and Carver are conferring.
A concert tour? Excellent!
I just thought I'd play in a church or two.
I am a teacher, not a pianist.
Dr. Washington is Principal,
but he speaks all over the nation to raise funds.
Okay, to help the Institute.
Can you arrange it for summer?
More than happy to.
EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY
Carver in a new suit is boarding the Jim Crow car.
INT. CHURCH - EVENING
Carver plays the piano which continues during the following montage of scenes.
EXT. DRINKING FOUNTAIN - HOT DAY
Carver takes a drink from the fountain marked "For colored."
INT. SCHOOL - EVENING
Carver plays for a white audience.
INT. BARN - EVENING
Carver plays piano for Negro people who hum along with the spirituals.
INT. TRAIN - DAY
Carver looks out the window at the shacks and poor farms.
INT. WHITEHOUSE DINING ROOM - EVENING
Washington is seated at the dining table with PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, MRS. ROOSEVELT, his daughter ALICE ROOSEVELT, THEIR THREE SONS, and PHILIP STEWART, a mining executive and fellow big-game hunter. They are finishing pie and drinking coffee, as the three sons excuse themselves and leave the table.
Excuse us, Papa.
Thank you for this excellent dinner.
It is an honor for me to be here.
When Mr. McKinley was killed
by the assassin's bullet,
and I knew that I was President,
I thought of you as leader of the Negro people.
I was impressed that you would write to me
the very first day you assumed the Presidency.
I want to give your people a square deal,
and having known you
I feel you can advise me best
who are the most qualified colored people in the nation
when it comes to making appointments.
I'm pleased also that you have insight as to
who are the best white politicians in the South as well.
I think your appointment of Governor Jones
to the federal judiciary was excellent.
I'm not afraid to appoint a Democrat
if there are no qualified Republicans in the area.
You assured me he wasn't a Bryan Democrat
and was a man of solid character.
Yes, he is a Gold Democrat,
and more important to me,
he has opposed lynching
and is for fair election laws,
and he has supported education for both races.
I realize the Republican Party in the South
tends to be either lily whites
or Negroes without experience.
I'm hoping you'll help me to improve
the quality of the Negroes
who are in appointed offices.
Southern states are trying
to disenfranchise colored people
with new constitutions and voting restrictions.
Do you know about the bill
to reduce their number of representatives in Congress
if they do?
Yes, but I oppose that tactic,
because it would be ratifying
that kind of discrimination.
We ought to be enforcing the fifteenth amendment,
not repealing it, as some would do.
Papa, I wonder if there will be a Southern reaction
to your inviting Mr. Washington here to dinner.
I thought about that briefly when I invited you,
but I was ashamed of myself for having any qualms
and resolved to go boldly ahead.
We've talked before, as you know,
and I see no harm in your having dinner with us.
If there is a stir,
I think we both ought to refrain from commenting
on what we discussed here tonight.
Yes, sir, I quite agree with you.
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Carver and Washington are conferring.
I found a dead heifer today.
Some careless students had thrown
the dishwater in with the scraps,
and the intestines were destroyed
by the alkaline in the soap.
So, tell the students.
I did, but the heifer also had typhoid;
I found the germs when analyzing the reservoir.
So, to avoid an epidemic
I wired the Surgeon General in Washington,
and he's sending a public health expert.
We're lucky we caught it now.
Yes. My brother wants me to fire you,
because of the twelve ewes
that died in that boiling water.
The students didn't follow my directions right,
and didn't have enough sense
to stop after the first one died.
Sometimes education comes the hard way.
Are you ready for this year's Farmers' Conference?
When I saw the condition of the farms in the country,
I realized we need to go to them
to show more people how to improve their lot.
I'd like to go out on weekends,
if I can have a wagon to use.
By all means. I like the idea.
EXT. BARN - MORNING
John H. Washington and some students are trying to churn some butter. Carver walks up.
I hear you're having some trouble
getting the butter to form.
What's wrong with it?
I don't know,
but here's a bulletin I wrote on making butter.
I've already read it.
Let me try the churn.
Carver works it, but it only produces foam.
I'll have to go look in the barn.
What for? The trouble's here.
If you know so much,
let's see you make butter out of this.
If you want me to solve the problem,
I'll have to go to the barn.
He walks off to the barn.
INT. BARN - MORNING
Carver is examining the feed the cows are eating.
EXT. BARN - MORNING
Carver returns to them.
Get some boiling water.
Is this like your sheep cure?
We'll see if you know your business.
Some students are pouring in the hot water and start churning.
I suggest you stop feeding the cows
so much cottonseed meal
even if it is cheap,
if you want butter from them.
What difference does it make?
Cottonseed has a lot of stearin,
which has a high melting point.
You won't get butter by churning
in normal atmosphere and temperature
if you have an excess of fatty acids.
The butters starts to form.
Good ol' Professor Carver!
INT. CARNEGIE LIBRARY ASSEMBLY ROOM - EVENING
Carver's weekly Sunday Bible class begins at six and lasts for only fifteen minutes. The clock turns six o'clock, and Carver recognizes a student.
Professor, where is the Creator you're always talking about?
That's a very important question.
If we are to contact our Creator
we must know where to find Him,
and also what He is.
He is within you and me and everywhere.
He is everywhere at any given time.
You don't have to go anywhere to find Him.
He's right here, right now.
Some students look around.
He is in our hearts, and we are in Him.
The Bible says,
"In Him we move and have our being."
Do you see God in your microscope, Professor.
Students laugh with Carver.
I see Him everywhere, in you, in this flower.
God is Spirit, and invisible to our senses,
but He creates everything.
Can you see electricity?
But you who are studying to be electricians,
when you make the proper contact
and fulfill the laws of physics,
then a lamp will light the way
for everyone who sees it.
God will only act for good,
so when you seek to do good things,
our Creator will help you and benefit everyone.
As I look at you now, I see our Creator
just itching for you to contact Him.
They chuckle in joy.
INT. TUSKEGEE AUDITORIUM - DAY
A large sign reads "Farmers Institute," and black people from all over have gathered together. The group is singing, "Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee." Carver stands up.
First let's hear from you folks.
What have you learned
that you can pass on to your neighbors?
I grow cowpeas 'cause they're good for my family,
'cause they're good for my stock,
'cause they're good for my land.
Oh yeah, and also I can pay my teacher better.
I have bulletins here on eighteen ways to cook cowpeas.
The mothers have been meetin' and learnin'
to sew and cook better and make shuck hats.
I've sold four dollars worth of rutabagas.
I got some juicy onions.
The Oak Grove school has planted two acres.
Now I want to show you all
that tomatoes are not poisonous.
He takes a ripe tomato, cuts a section, and plops it in his mouth amid horrified gasps and exclamations.
You'll notice that I haven't died.
Tomatoes are very healthy
and a protection against scurvy.
Now may I introduce to you Dr. Washington.
Applause as Washington gets up to speak.
Last year at the Farmers' Conference,
we adopted the following goals.
See how you're doing as I state them:
not to mortgage; to own your own home
and improve it and make it more beautiful;
to raise our own food
rather than go in debt at the commissary;
to improve schools and churches,
and find better teachers and preachers.
With God's help, amen.
They sing "Let the Heaven Shine on Me."
EXT. COUNTRY FARM - AFTERNOON
Carver rides up in a wagon and is greeted by MR. BAKER.
Bless my soul, it's Perfesser Carver.
One mo' fa dinna', Sally!
Come in, perfesser, and set a piece.
Let's have a look around first.
I see you planted more than cotton this year.
Sho' enough. I got corn,
oats, sweet 'taters and peanuts.
That land's gettin' better every year now,
'stead of worse and worse with cotton.
I got some wire chicken coop for you
and some more jars and recipes for the missus.
Tomorrow I'll show you how to paint your house
from clay you find in the marshes.
INT. BAKER'S CABIN - EVENING
Mr. Baker, MRS. BAKER, and Carver are just finishing dinner.
You sure know how to set a table
and fill a hungry man, Mrs. Baker.
This harmony of flavors is like
the art of color tones in a good painting.
I been picklin' meat and sealin' fruits and jellies
in jars with eggwhite the way ya showed me.
I told all my neighbors
you be comin' this weekend.
They'll be here tomorra'.
EXT. BAKERS' FARM - MORNING
Carver stands by his wagon exhibiting to a group of farmers.
These onions and cabbages came from
the worst twenty acres in Alabama.
Look at Mr. Baker's farm here.
You know what it was like before.
Rotate your crops.
Legumes like peanuts and sweet potatoes
enrich your soil.
Cotton's the cash crop though.
It'll grow better on land that's been improved.
Start on part of your land.
Stop burning off the old plants.
That's like taking a roll of greenbacks
and burning off the outside bills.
Plow 'em under; it's harder,
but you can put those greenbacks
in your wallet next year.
What if it's not our land?
Save a nickel every working day and put it in a jar.
At the end of the year
you'll have fifteen dollars and sixty-five cents.
You can buy three acres
and still have a reserve fund of sixty-five cents.
Grow your own vegetables,
and your families won't be sick as much.
Can you tell me what's wrong with my well?
We'll do it this afternoon.
Now I'll show you how to make your own paint
to make your homes look beautiful.
See this mat; I made it out of corn shuck.
Here's one from pine needles.
God has everything at hand
if we'll just learn how to use what's here.
Oh, here, plant these seeds by your door or in the yard.
A flower is God's silent messenger.
INT. CARVER'S ROOM - AFTERNOON
Carver shows a flower to the students.
Can you see the beauty in this
and say God does not exist?
Is this an accident?
What is nature,
but the unfoldment of God's plan on earth.
Listen to what it says to you.
Here Jamey, take this home with you.
He hands him his salary check.
Oh, I'd better sign it. Take it to the bank first.
How did you know my family is in trouble?
Our Father knows our every need,
and He wanted me to help you.
Listen to your heart.
INT. BOSTON ZION A. M. E. CHURCH - HOT JULY EVENING
The black church is filled beyond capacity with people standing in the aisles, stairs, and entranceway. In front on the platform are W. H. LEWIS, T. THOMAS FORTUNE, and Booker T. Washington.
W. H. LEWIS
Our honored guest tonight
is that great educator
and spokesman for the Negro race,
Booker T. Washington.
The name is greeted by hissing and commotion.
W. H. LEWIS (Cont'd.)
If there are any geese in the audience,
they are privileged to retire.
Our next speaker is T. Thomas Fortune,
who was appointed by President Roosevelt
to investigate labor problems in the Philippines.
T. THOMAS FORTUNE
I support the educational philosophy of Dr. Washington.
At the Louisville convention
I virtually spanked the Boston delegates across my knee.
At these statements the hissing and commotion increases. GRANVILLE MARTIN, 44 years old and dressed in a butler's suit, tries to move toward the front while shouting out questions.
Washington, you said,
"Every revised constitution
throughout the southern states
has put a premium upon intelligence,
ownership of property, thrift and character."
Did you not thereby endorse
the disfranchising of our race?
Are you not actually upholding oppressing our race
as a good thing for us, advocating peonage?
Not responding to the efforts of the BOSTON POLICE to stop him, Granville Martin is removed by them from the hall. Meanwhile T. Thomas Fortune has been coughing continually; he finds the water pitcher has been emptied. Then the speakers notice that there is cayenne pepper sprinkled on the floor of the platform.
W. H. LEWIS
Someone has scattered red pepper here.
W. H. Lewis speaks to the audience.
W. H. LEWIS (Cont'd.)
This is a disgrace to every individual in Boston.
Those who wish to be free
should know how to govern themselves.
Their first duty is to preserve
order in the church of God.
T. THOMAS FORTUNE
You don't endorse such vulgarity
in a public meeting.
T. THOMAS FORTUNE (Cont'd.)
Your duties as citizens should make you
rebuke all riot and disorder.
At these words trouble begins again. Granville Martin, who has entered the hall again in the back, begins to stamp his feet and hiss.
W. H. LEWIS
Please put that man out.
Police remove Granville Martin a second time. WILLIAM M. TROTTER stands up and shouts.
WILLIAM M. TROTTER
Put me out; arrest me!
Keep quiet, or the whole Boston police force
will see to it that you are put out.
William M. Trotter sits down. Someone from the back shouts.
PERSON IN THE BACK
We don't want to hear you, Booker Washington.
We don't like you.
Your views and aims
are not what we sympathize with
or think best for our race.
The commotion increases, as William M. Trotter stands on a chair reading off his questions of Washington. Some try to leave, but the exits and stairs are all crowded. BERNARD CHARLES, one of the most active fighters, is stabbed and arrested. A Policeman is stabbed in the hand by a woman with a hat pin. A group of screaming women attempt to surround the police to impede their movements.
WILLIAM M. TROTTER
Do you think the Negro
should expect less from his freedom
than the white man from his?
Have you not minimized the outrage
of the insulting Jim Crow car discrimination?
Since you are unwilling to insist upon
the Negro's having his every right,
would it not be a calamity to make you our leader?
Is the rope and the torch all the race is to get
under your leadership?
William M. Trotter is arrested and taken out of the hall, as is his sister, MAUDE TROTTER.
Washington is addressing the audience, which now has returned to relatively normal circumstances.
What I shall say this evening
will relate in the main
to the condition of our race
in these large northern cities.
The young colored man in the north
is surrounded on every hand by temptation,
which will drag him down,
unless he fortifies himself with the best education,
with a strong moral and religious
sense of responsibility,
and with the earnest cultivation
of habits of industry and thrift.
Most in the audience applaud enthusiastically.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
Washington, W. E. B. DU BOIS, and HUGH M. BROWNE are meeting around a table in a neutral room.
So we have fulfilled our obligation
to select the Committee of Twelve
for the Advancement of the Negro Race.
I think it is a representative group
based on our discussion at the meeting we had
in January at Carnegie Hall in New York.
What do you think, Dr. Du Bois?
W. E. B. DU BOIS
I don't agree that it is representative at all.
You and Dr. Browne have consistently outvoted me.
When we met in New York,
I thought we made much progress
in agreeing on general goals and principles---
that education should consist of
intellectual development through colleges
as well as industrial education for the masses
and elementary training for every Negro child;
that great effort must be made
to protect our right to vote;
that we must oppose
any restrictions on our civil rights
in matters of travel and public accommodations,
and that we must fight legally for these rights;
and that we must gain
and disseminate greater knowledge
to the general public about Negro conditions.
But I was chilled
when you had invited to a secret meeting
several white philanthropists to speak.
Those men, Andrew Carnegie, William Baldwin,
Robert Ogden, and George Foster Peabody
are in a position to help us a great deal financially.
W. E. B. DUBOIS
I suspected that Carnegie is paying for this group
and thus is in a position to control it.
Oswald Garrison Villard, Lyman Abbott,
and William Hayes Ward
are journalists of great influence.
W. E. B. DU BOIS
I'm not sure we want that kind of influence.
We need an activist organization that will help
the Negro people across this nation
to work for their rights and advancement.
I'm afraid this group will do little
other than publish a few educational pamphlets.
I'm sorry you feel that way.
I thought we were in agreement.
W. E. B. DU BOIS
We do agree on the goals,
but your leadership has been too compromising
with southern and established business interests.
And when we try to offer other approaches,
you seem to squelch us
with your manipulative methods.
You subsidize black newspapers;
you control Presidential appointments to office;
you even send your spies into our meetings.
I'll doubt I'll be on this committee much longer.
EXT. NEW YORK CITY CENTRAL PARK BENCH - 1:00 P.M.
Washington looking around surreptitiously sits down on the bench next to the black man, MELVIN J. CHISUM.
I've found out at the Brooklyn meeting
that Du Bois' and Trotter's Niagara Movement
are going to hold their second annual convention
at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
I'm almost sure I can get
into the secret conference there,
if you want me to, your Eminence.
I wish you wouldn't call me that.
Sure, go to the conference and keep us informed.
I need fifty dollars to keep me going.
Already? We just gave you fifty last month.
You know what a good job I did
getting Chase to turn his newspaper
against Trotter and the Niagarites.
Now all his editorials are Bookerite.
Only when he's gotten
a recent subsidy check from us.
All right. Here's fifty.
Now tell me what they're planning
for Harper's Ferry.
Washington hands Chisum some cash.
They're frustrated that the newspapers you control
won't give them any publicity....
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - DAY
Carver walking sees a confused young man, TOM CAMPBELL. He casually goes over to him.
Hello, young man.
Are you the brother of the boy
who died of smallpox?
We need not fear death,
for we are made in the image of our Creator,
which is Spirit, and Spirit never passes away.
It doesn't matter how long we live here,
but what we do while we're here.
Willie did good.
He told me to go on,
and not let anyone do more than me
in whatever I decide to do.
What trade would you like to study? Farming?
No! I hate farming.
Just because I'm Negro.
I can do more than that.
How about agriculture?
Agriculture? Sure, why not?
EXT. CHURCH - SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Carver and Tom Campbell stand by a wagon painted "The Jesup Agricultural Wagon."
Have you got the cow milked?
Put the milk in the cream separator.
Here they come.
Black people start coming out of the church, and many gather around the wagon.
Most of these people can't even afford a cow.
Our job is to make them want a cow,
and their job is to earn one.
The Lord's blessing to you all.
What kinda hogs is those?
He points at the two hogs tied to the wagon.
This one here is your common razorback,
and that one's a purebred.
Hey Calvin, look at these hogs here.
We're from the Institute.
This here is a cream separator.
These vegetables you can grow yourself.
They'll save you money and improve your health.
Plant sweet potatoes and peanuts,
and you'll help the soil and have plenty to eat.
Here are bulletins how to prepare them in many ways.
We is cotton farmers, not vegetable gardeners.
How is your crop compared to ten years ago?
Why, I had to move to a new farm.
Wore the last one out.
And you'll wear this one out before too long.
Rotate your crops;
rest your soil, even part of it.
Boll weevil is in Texas and Louisiana
and coming this way.
All these things here
are made from farm products.
He shows them an array of foods, jars, mats, brooms, paints, etc. Some white farmers are watching from across the street and call to Carver. He walks across the street.
Hey Uncle, come over here and tell us
what you been tellin' them nigra farmers.
Do you grow cotton?
Folks are sayin' you're some kind of expert.
Tell me how to improve my cotton.
King Cotton is killing the South
by robbing the soil of nutrients
and starving the poor farmer
who grows nothing else.
We've been growin' cotton for a hundred years.
Yes, but what is the boll weevil doing to it in Texas?
I say grow sweet potatoes and peanuts.
Hah! Do you hear that, Charley?
He wants us to grow monkey food.
I heard enough. Go back to Africa.
Carver walks back across the road.
Perfessor, only our children eat a few peanuts
from the vines growing along the fence.
What'll we do with bushels of them?
It's good to give your children a garden
or an animal of their own to take care of.
That way they learn responsibility
and feel more a part of the home.
As for what we can do with peanuts,
that's a problem only our Creator can solve.
INT. CARNEGIE LIBRARY - EVENING
Students are attentive in Bible class. Carver shows some plants and particles of food.
Moses found bread---manna in the wilderness
to keep the Israelites from starving,
and here is the same thing found here at Tuskegee.
Where is heaven and hell?
Everything is in the air.
Tune into your Creator in silent prayer,
and wonders will be revealed to you.
Now don't get the idea
there is a place in the air called heaven or hell.
Have you ever seen a person burning up with hatred?
He's in a living hell.
We make our own hell or heaven
with our thoughts and feelings.
Hold good thoughts,
and you'll find happiness, success, and peace.
But what happened to the wicked people
in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah?
He touches off a chemical explosion on his table, sending up flames and fumes. The students cough as they flee.
It behooves us to keep in contact
with the source of good!
INT. WHITEHOUSE RECEPTION ROOM - DAY
Washington and President Roosevelt are seated in comfortable chairs conversing.
I've decided to dismiss the three Negro companies
of the Brownsville regiment,
except for their white officers.
Without even a court martial
to determine who is guilty?
Even if some of the soldiers
were guilty of the shooting,
surely most of the men are completely innocent.
They are all part of a conspiracy of silence
for refusing to give information
on who did the shooting.
But they have made signed statements declaring
that they did not participate in the shooting
and have no knowledge of the shoot-out.
No "prior knowledge" of the shoot-out.
Investigators believe some of them know who did it.
But still it is terribly unjust to dismiss them all
without even giving them
a trial to defend themselves.
Mr. President, in my opinion this is a great blunder.
My race has been supporting you wholeheartedly
in spite of lynchings
and disfranchisement and Jim Crow.
Look at what happen in the Atlanta riots where
white racists went on a rampage
and killed ten Negroes.
I beg you to reconsider
until you return from Panama
so that I can give you more facts
on what really happened at Brownsville.
I could not possibly refrain from
dismissing those colored soldiers.
You can not give me any information
that I could heed, Dr. Washington,
because the information I am acting on
is what came out in the investigation itself.
The order goes into effect
the day after the election.
That makes it all the more regrettable, sir.
I'm afraid many of the Negro race
will turn against you.
What about you?
Will you continue to support me?
Of course, this is only one incident,
and I know you have been our friend in many ways,
but it is a great blunder, sir,
and I'm afraid that by continuing to support you,
I will lose much support from many of my race
who are already discontent with Negro conditions
and blame it on my leadership.
INT. CARVER'S ROOM - DAY
Carver is scrubbing his floor with a rag, soap, and water. A few students come in.
Professor, we been sent over here
to do your cleanin' for you.
The other teachers said it's not dignified
for you to be scrubbin' the floor yourself.
I've always done it,
and I'm going to keep right on.
The best way to find out
if this soap I made is any good
is by using it myself to see if it works.
what's this colored glass here with the lamp?
I like various colors.
Orange is stimulating, and blue is restful.
I like a yellow glow when I'm writing.
How are the children's gardens growing?
Have they been watered today?
I knew we forgot somethin'.
Didn't you fellas sign contracts
to share in the labor,
expense and profit of those gardens?
take these seed packets for your sister.
INT. NEGRO SCHOOL - AFTERNOON
Carver is lecturing.
A while ago an important businessman said to me
that he wished he knew a man
who could discover oil.
He didn't specify a white man or a black man
or a yellow man---just a man.
All you need is to have
a skill that the world is seeking.
"You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place.
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know;
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began,
Get hold of yourself and say: 'I can.'"
EXT. STREETS OF A SOUTHERN TOWN - EVENING
Carver is in the back of a carriage with MR. HANCOCK, a local Negro school principal, and MISS FAIRCHILD, a white photographer.
You see, Mr. Hancock,
I want to take pictures,
not only of Tuskegee,
but how it benefits the South as well.
Here is your hotel, Miss Fairchild.
She gets out, and some whites notice she was riding with Negroes.
WHITE TOWNSMAN #1
I'm either blind,
or that lady just got out of
a buggy with two niggers.
WHITE TOWNSMAN #2
And one of 'em was in the same seat!
I think we oughta' teach 'em a lesson
'bout our social customs.
The carriage drives off and turns the corner. Mr. Hancock jumps out and disappears into a store. Carver is left to wait, overhearing voices in a crowd.
That nigger sure is dumb.
Maybe we oughta' string him up.
Carver blows out the lamp in the carriage and slips out into the night. Carver stays in the shadows and finds his way out of town. A couple of gun shots are fired his way. Carrying his case Carver is hiding as he scurries through ditches, gulleys, etc.
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Washington is seated at his desk and is about to sign a bulletin Carver has written. Carver is waiting.
I see here that nobody knows
where the sweet potato originated.
Not to my knowledge.
Then let's say Macon County.
You can't do that.
Let's give the sweet potato a home.
Then leave my name off of it.
Anyone with any knowledge of botany
would know it didn't originate here.
You can't just arbitrarily put it
anywhere you want.
Is that so?
I don't think the Institute is in any position
to withstand the fire that would be directed toward it
from the scientific world if that was published.
Have it your way.
Sir, that's the way it is.
EXT. CARVER'S ROOM - NIGHT
Washington is waiting while the GUARD knocks on Carver's door. Carver answers in his night shirt.
Dr. Washington would like to speak with you.
I'll be right out.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - LATE NIGHT
Washington and Carver are walking and talking.
I apologize about that sweet potato bulletin.
Of course, you were right.
Do you see how the moon
makes the myrtle trees glisten?
I was reading today
there's been an increase in lynchings.
The campus is all a-buzz about it.
I think that's a mockingbird I hear.
At the last speech I gave
the whites had pistols in their laps.
I was almost shot myself last week.
The race problem is a deep one
that will take a long time to solve.
The Hebrews suffered under many pharaohs.
Making bricks without straw!
What can we do?
Should we do more in the North?
The North has as many Pharisees as the South.
We must continue the work we do.
Our people are learning useful trades
that they can take throughout the country
and share with our brothers.
Jesus had no easy task, nor his followers,
but he said,
"Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Still we're called radicals or Uncle Toms.
Listen to the heart, not the opinions of men.
May God be our guide in this work we do.
INT. CARNEGIE ROOM - EVENING
Tuning into our Creator and studying the Bible,
we find the solution to any problem.
Fear is the root of hate for others,
and hate within will ultimately destroy the hater.
David was small
but filled with truth and good thoughts.
Goliath represents someone
who has let fear into his heart,
and it has grown into hatred.
But what happened between them?
David killed Goliath with a slingshot.
The slingshot of truth and prayer
which is humble but actually very powerful.
Dr. Booker T. Washington is another
who kept himself so busy
building Tuskegee with help from the good
that he had no room in his heart
for thoughts of hate.
He once said,
"I will let no man drag me down
so low as to make me hate him."
You'll get back what you think about long enough.
See the good in everything.
If you can't see the good in a situation,
it's a sign that you're not in tune with the Creator.
So keep in contact.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - LATE AFTERNOON
Carver is climbing a tree to check some diseased leaves. MISS HUNT, a small vivacious teacher, sees him and walks over under the tree.
What on earth are you doing up in that tree?
Or should I say, "What in heaven's name?"
Oh, good afternoon, Miss Hunt.
Just going about my duty
as chief gardener of the campus.
You're not going to work
through dinner again, are you?
Just let me check this leaf bacteria,
and I'll be with you in a moment.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - LATE AFTERNOON
Carver and Miss Hunt are walking arm in arm across campus. Carver has a red and white carnation in his lapel, and Miss Hunt is twirling one in her hand.
Such a lovely flower.
You know, I feel like spring
is bursting forth in my heart.
I feel the beauty of our Creator within us
is shown to our outward vision
in the loveliness of nature---
a flower, a smile, a sense of peace.
And a deep love.
She rests her head on his shoulder, and they share a mystical silence as they walk.
INT. TOM CAMPBELL'S HOME - NIGHT
Mr. and MRS. TOM CAMPBELL, their TWO CHILDREN, and Carver are celebrating Easter Sunday. Carver is on the floor spinning a top he has made for the children. They laugh gleefully. Carver crawls under a table to retrieve the top.
Now settle down, boys,
and maybe Professor Carver
will tell you a story.
They each sit on one of Carver's knees, as he leans against the sofa. Flashbacks of Little George are intercut during the story.
One day a little boy who lived in the country
was walking all alone in the forest,
and as he was talking to himself,
he began to hear in his mind
answers to his questions.
"I wonder where this stream leads to?
To a waterfall around that hill."
So he followed it to the waterfall.
He wondered some more
where these ideas came from,
and found himself very near
some lovely yellow wildflowers.
He listened within his heart
and began to realize that he could understand
what these flowers knew about growing
and the other plants around there.
So, every day he would go into the woods
and share his feelings
with these lovely friends of his.
And he was a very happy little boy,
because he could talk to friends
wherever he went.
Can we really talk to flowers?
Sure. Once a daisy told me
there is going to be a great war in Europe.
Another time a rose told me about
a new disease which I was able to stop
before it spread to other flowers.
And I learned from a cactus
how to save up for a rainy day.
How can I talk to flowers?
Just love them,
and they'll share what they know with you.
Anyone can do it by loving them.
The two boys go over to the plants on the window sill.
You want some water?
Yeah, looks like it.
He bends his ear down to listen.
OLDER BOY (Cont'd.)
Okay, I'll get you some.
You have a wonderful way with children,
Have you thought of having your own family?
I don't think a woman would want me
leaving soil specimens all over the parlor.
Or how could I tell my wife
I had to go out at four o'clock every morning?
The right woman would understand.
To go out and talk with flowers?
EXT. WOODS - LATE AFTERNOON
Carver is contemplating deeply his dilemma concerning Miss Hunt. As he thinks of her we see a montage of scenes of them together dining at the cafeteria, walking on campus, him playing piano for her, her bringing him a meal to his study, walking in the country as he gives her flowers.
CARVER (v. o.)
Such a beautiful soul!
O Lord, what am I going to do
with my love for this person?
And what is to become of her concern for me?
Can I give to her the devotion she deserves?
As he thinks of his people in the South we see a montage of scenes of faces of poor farmers, farms, students, etc.
CARVER (v. o. cont'd.)
What about the people who need my help?
Lord, you've given me the knowledge
and the ability to help lift these people.
Would I still be able to give
my full devotion to this work?
I place it in your hands, Mr. Creator.
INT. CARVER'S CLASS - AFTERNOON
Students are waiting for Carver to show up.
This is the first time
Professor Carver has missed a class
since he's been here at Tuskegee.
I wonder if he's sick.
INT. CARVER'S STUDY - EVENING
Carver and Miss Hunt are talking quietly. She is crying.
I can't ask you to give up so much for me.
You have your destiny to fulfill.
I feel I couldn't be fair to you.
Nobody wants a part-time, now-and-then husband.
I don't feel it would be right for me either.
It's hard to let go; I love you so much.
I believe that love is the essence of life.
Personal love is a part of that,
but there is a greater spiritual love.
I don't think I should stay at Tuskegee.
That doesn't matter.
I will love you spiritually wherever you are.
I must do the work our Creator has for me.
King Cotton and boll weevil
are killing the South's economy.
We must look to something new,
or millions may starve.
I understand now, and may the Lord bless us.
INT. WIDOW'S PLANTATION - NIGHT
A WIDOW is writing a letter at her desk with a lamp glowing brightly. We hear her thinking the words as she writes.
WIDOW (v. o.)
Dear Professor Carver, Tuskegee Institute:
I have planted thirty-five acres of peanuts this year,
and am deeply concerned what to do with them.
EXT. WOODS - DAWN
Carve is sitting on a stump reading the letter as we continue to her the widow's voice.
WIDOW (v. o.)
You say, "Plant peanuts instead of cotton."
There is a market for cotton,
but what about peanuts?
Enough are imported from the Far East
to supply the circuses and carnivals,
and hardly anybody else uses them.
What am I to do with them?
I fear they will rot away
if there is no market for them.
Carver is deeply concerned as we hear his thoughts.
CARVER (v. o.)
The problem has only been solved halfway,
and I'm liable to end up in the ditch.
What have I done?
Tell me, great Creator,
why this universe was made.
That's too much for your little mind to know.
Then Mr. Creator, what was man made for?
Little man, that's asking too much.
Cut down the extent of the request
and improve the intent.
Please, Mr. Creator,
tell me why the peanut was made.
That's better, though even that is infinite,
but we'll see what we can do.
Well then, Mr. Creator,
if you'll join me in our workshop,
we can get at it.
INT. CARVER'S NEW LAB - MORNING
There is a painted sign that reads "God's Little Workshop." There are flowers all around in the window sills, chemicals, soils, equipment, etc., but no books.
CARVER (v. o.)
First thing to do is to take the peanut apart
into all its separate elements.
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - NIGHT
Carver has separated some peanuts into various elements before him.
CARVER (v. o.)
Here we have it, Lord---
water, fats, oils, gums, resins, sugars,
starches, pectoses, pentosans, and amino acids.
Now you know what the peanut is.
But what's it for?
There are three laws---
compatibility, temperature, and pressure.
Take these constituents
and put them together in different combinations
and conditions of temperature and pressure.
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - DAY
Carver has a few products before him and is mixing another. Someone knocks on the door.
Go away; I'm busy.
STUDENT (v. o.)
Professor, are you all right in there?
Have you had enough to eat?
Yes, plenty to eat, plenty to eat.
Leave me alone.
Carver tastes a liquid he has been working on.
CARVER (v. o.)
Mr. Creator, can I make milk out of the peanut?
What kind of milk,
plain boardinghouse milk or good Jersey milk?
Well, good Jersey milk.
He tosses a few peanuts in his mouth and goes back to work.
INT. OFFICE IN NEW YORK CITY - DAY
Washington is meeting with a well-dressed black woman, MARY TERRELL.
Your note at the hotel said
you had some things to tell me.
I know you're upset about
the circular Du Bois wrote
that went out from the office
of the new organization
we're now calling the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People.
It was a direct and personal attack against me,
and it was signed
by several people who are prominent,
if only because they are so vocal and obnoxious.
They believe that you are
too optimistic about Negro life
and that your speeches in Europe
gave people the wrong impression
about conditions here
that really need urgent redress.
I'm familiar with those arguments,
but I don't understand why these people
spend so much of their time working against me
instead of for our common objectives.
But what you've told me I already know.
I can tell you that the circular was not supposed
to go out on the official stationary but privately.
The white members of the committee are disgusted
that it was presumably
under the guise of the committee.
I don't want to have anything
to do with Du Bois myself.
It was inevitable that the whites and radical Negroes
would end up fighting with each other.
This makes me glad I didn't join,
but I hope you will continue to help our cause.
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Washington is conferring with his private secretary, EMMETT SCOTT, who has brought in some New York newspapers.
Have you seen the New York papers?
No. Did they cover the banquet like we hoped?
Not all the papers,
but the ones that did are sensational.
Scott hands Washington the New York Press. Washington reads aloud the headline.
Three Races Sit at Banquet for Mixed Marriage.
Listen to what the later edition wrote:
"White women, evidently of the cultured
and wealthier classes,
fashionably attired in low-cut gowns,
leaned over the tables to chat confidentially
with Negro men of the true African type....
the cosmopolitan chop suey ...
the broad smiles of the Negroes
as they leered surreptitiously across the room
at their Caucasian friends
made one feel their inner ecstasy
over the unwonted social communion."
It sounds like Anderson
did his usual good work for us
in getting publicity in New York.
We'll see how the country
responds to that kind of behavior
from the black radicals
and white liberals of the North.
EXT. WEST 63RD STREET IN NEW YORK - EVENING
Washington enters the vestibule of an apartment building across the street from a theatre. He scans the directory and then rings one of the bells. He continues to look at the directory. An attractive white brunette of about thirty, MRS. ULRICH, comes out of one of the first-floor apartments and walks past Washington.
Washington is pacing up and down outside the apartments when the brunette passes him again and smiles at him. He smiles back. Washington goes into the vestibule again and rings a bell. While he is waiting for an answer, two white women about twenty pass him as they go into their apartment. Washington goes out to the sidewalk again and paces. From across the street a white man, ULRICH, about forty, watches him from the shadows. Washington goes back into the vestibule again and puts on his glasses to read the directory. Suddenly Ulrich, who is not well dressed and is a little drunk, bursts in on Washington.
What are you doing here?
Are you breaking into my house?
Why are you hanging around here so long?
What do you want to know for?
It's none of your business.
At this, Ulrich slugs Washington on the side of his head. As Washington tries to explain, Ulrich keeps hitting him with his fists.
I'm trying to find a friend.
I thought he lived here.
Washington tries to defend himself, while he opens the outside door and runs into the street. Ulrich follows him and quickly borrows a walking stick from a bystander and beats Washington with it several times as he chases him down the street.
Don't beat me this way.
If I'm breaking the law,
call an officer and have him arrest me,
if I'm doing anything wrong.
Nearing Central Park, Washington trips on the trolley tracks and falls. Two men are standing nearby, CHESTER HAGAN, a plainclothes policeman, and JAMES CROWE, a white bank clerk. Washington's clothes are now torn and dirty, and blood is pouring from the wounds on his head.
Here's a thief.
This man is a thief.
I found him with his hand on the door-knob
and his eye at the keyhole.
Hagan shows his police badge and takes ahold of Washington.
You're under arrest. I'm a policeman.
Officer, if you hadn't shown up,
I'd knocked that black man's head off.
Why would he try a burglary through the front door?
Maybe he was after Mathew's daughters.
I wonder if I ought to change the charge to that.
INT. STATIONHOUSE - NIGHT
LIEUTENANT ROBERT QUINN is questioning Washington and Ulrich.
I need medical attention.
After you're booked, we'll see to that.
I'll tell you I'm Booker T. Washington.
You expect us to believe that?
Look, this is my calling card.
He hands Lt. Quinn a business card.
Anyone could have one of these.
Washington goes through his pockets and finds a railway ticket and a letter addressed to him, which he hands to Lt. Quinn.
Here, this railroad pass has my name on it;
so does this letter, which is addressed to me.
You must be right.
It is unlikely that you
would be committing a burglary.
I tell you this man assaulted me for no good reason.
All right; I won't charge you with burglary.
Do you want to bring charges against this man?
Yes, I think I should,
but please get me to an emergency room right away.
Lt. Quinn orders his deputies.
All right, charge Ulrich here with felonious assault
and set bail at fifteen hundred dollars,
and call an ambulance from Flower Hospital.
MRS. ULRICH comes in very distraught at hearing the charge.
This black man offended me on the street.
This is my wife.
She told me that she had seen a Negro
lurking about the front of the building.
So I went out
and saw him trying to peek through a keyhole.
I asked him what he was doing,
and when I got no answer,
I started to throw him out of the building.
He resisted, and I gave him the best beating I could.
That black man said to me, "Hello, sweetheart."
That is not true; I said nothing of the kind.
Ulrich, I'm still charging you with assault.
It is strange that a man
cannot protect his wife from insult
and keep out of jail,
while the Negro who insulted her is free.
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Carver and Washington are talking.
You've done a marvelous job
of landscaping this campus.
I'm so glad we've relieved you
of most of the teaching and departmental burdens.
How is the creative research progressing?
I've been working on the peanut.
I've prepared this bulletin.
"How to Grow the Peanut
and One Hundred and Five Ways
to Prepare it for Human Consumption."
I encourage people to use these recipes,
but I think we need to demonstrate it.
If you could invite
some Macon County businessmen for lunch,
I'll have the senior girls cooking class
prepare a five-course meal.
We'll do it.
I'm anxious to try these new recipes myself.
INT. DINING ROOM - DAY
Carver, Washington, and NINE GUESTS are enjoying luncheon as the girls serve them.
The soup was delightful. What was in it?
A most extraordinary salad!
I've never tasted anything quite like it.
I can't figure out what it is.
I don't suppose this creamed vegetable
and loaf that tastes like chicken is ...
And the bread ...
And the butter, the coffee and the cream,
and we also have ice cream, cookies, and candy
all made from ...
The peanut is almost equal to sirloin for protein
and potatoes for carbohydrates,
and is inferior to butter only in fat.
But it doesn't all taste like peanuts.
It's really quite varied.
Does milk taste like grass?
INT. WASHINGTON'S OFFICE - DAY
Washington is conferring with his secretary.
Your article on segregation laws
is very strongly worded.
We really need to explain
why segregation is ill-advised.
What do you think of my argument that
the courts will eventually find
segregation laws illegal,
since the courts in no section of the country
would uphold a case
where Negroes sought to segregate white citizens?
I think it's very clever.
It helps people to see the issue objectively.
Your piece on the American occupation of Haiti
is also good.
It was really bad when President Wilson replaced
the black minister to that country with a white man.
For the United States to send white men into Haiti
to make it a white man's country
would be another mistake.
Only if they put themselves
in the black man's place
will they do any good for the Haitians.
We now have the opportunity
to help them establish
a tax-supported educational system
which they've never had.
Sir, all the doctors are warning you to slow down
and take a rest,
or you're liable to have a breakdown.
I know; I know.
Maybe another fishing trip to Mobile.
You really should go
to the Mayo clinic in Minnesota.
Try to schedule that speech in North Dakota,
and then I'll go from there.
But Robert Moton insists
that you speak in Virginia.
Moton is very loyal.
I must not disappoint him.
We'll have to postpone going to Dr. Mayo.
INT. TUSKEGEE CHAPEL - EVENING
Washington is looking very tired and sick as he addresses the Tuskegee students.
Teamwork is what built the Panama Canal.
Teamwork also built
the great Standard Oil Company.
A great many people think
that it has been built up
by one man, Mr. Rockefeller.
That is far from true;
Mr. Rockefeller told me so himself.
Here at Tuskegee we also need teamwork,
not only on the athletic field,
but in maintaining cleanliness, saving expenses,
doing honest work, and helping one another.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
DR. KENNEY is trying to advise Washington and his wife, MARGARET WASHINGTON.
your husband will never survive
the journey to Tuskegee.
I was born in the South;
I have lived and labored in the South,
and I expect to die and be buried in the South.
I won't deny my husband this last request.
Can you get us some kind of a chair or stretcher?
Maggie, just help me, and I'll walk myself.
Washington sits up and begins to climb out of bed.
The doctors are already saying that it is uncanny
that a man in your condition can be up at all
when by the laws of nature
you should already be dead.
Here I'll help too.
Washington is helped to walk by his wife and the doctor.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CEMETERY - EARLY MORNING
Carver is standing by the large boulder, which reads simply: BOOKER TALIAFERO WASHINGTON 1856 - 1915. He grieves and finds renewed strength within himself.
INT. CARVER'S STUDY - DAY
MR. HUSTON and Carver are discussing the peanut business.
I've notified the farmers of the South
that there's a check and a cheerful signer
waiting at the scales for all peanuts
brought to our plant in Columbus, Georgia.
So Tom's Toasted Peanuts are doing well.
How is the peanut butter?
Since I sent my chemist Wade Moss over here
and you showed the additive needed
to keep the oil from separating and going rancid,
it's been a great success.
I'm glad to hear it.
won't you accept a check from me
for all the help you've given?
No, it's of no use to me.
Tell me, what do you do with the peanut hulls?
Throw them away. They're just waste.
You could sell them as soil conditioner,
or at least use them as sawdust.
Hey, that's a great idea! My God, Carver,
you've got to come to Columbus and work for me!
He's not just your God, Mr. Huston,
and you can't expect Him to devote Himself
exclusively to Tom's Toasted Peanuts,
nor me either.
My work is here.
but will you come to Montgomery for
the United Peanut Associations of America meeting
to help us promote peanuts
and protect us from Oriental imports?
I'll be there.
EXT. EXCHANGE HOTEL MONTGOMERY - HOT DAY
Carver carrying two heavy cases and perspiring heavily walks up the steps to the DOORMAN.
I'm here for the Peanut Association meeting.
They've gone over to City Hall.
INT. CITY HALL - DAY
Carver questions a CLERK.
Where is the Peanut Association meeting?
Does anyone here know?
Oh, I think they've gone back
to the Exchange Hotel.
EXT. EXCHANGE HOTEL - HOT DAY
Carver approaches the doorman again.
Sorry, Uncle, no colored allowed in here.
My name is Carver.
I'm expected by the Peanut Growers.
The doorman whispers to the bellboy who goes inside after some snickering and laughing.
We're checking on it.
The bellboy comes out and leads Carver around to the service elevator.
This way. You'll have to go up the service elevator.
INT. EXCHANGE HOTEL HALLWAY - DAY
Carver is waiting in a hall by the banquet room. A BUSBOY comes out and speaks to Carver.
You'll have to wait, old man.
They just started their luncheon.
INT. BANQUET ROOM - AFTERNOON
Carver is just being introduced to the semi-hostile southern businessmen.
From Tuskegee Institute, Professor Carver.
There is silence as he stands up.
Your Montgomery heat is hard on people,
but I hope you won't complain
since it is excellent for peanuts. (Laughter)
These are some of the products
I've made from peanuts.
He starts to unpack his cases.
A hundred pounds of peanuts
will make twice as much cheese
as a hundred pounds of cow's milk.
Here's paper from the skins
and corkboard from the shells.
CONGRESSMAN STEAGALL is expressing thanks for Carver showing them the useful products.
Certainly Professor Carver
has shown the merits of peanuts,
and I recommend that we send him
as our representative to speak before
the Ways and Means Committee of Congress
on the question of the protective tariff.
I'm sure my colleagues in the House
will welcome such an expert witness.
Hear! Hear! Yes, indeed!
They shout and clap their approval.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - DAY
TWO FACULTY WOMEN stop to speak to Carver.
FACULTY WOMAN #1
Good day, Professor Carver.
Any new experimental recipes
you'd like us to try?
Not today. I'm working on pecans though.
FACULTY WOMAN #2
We hear you're going to Washington next week.
You're not going to wear that old suit, are you?
FACULTY WOMAN #1
Surely you're going to buy a new suit.
If they want to see a new suit,
I'll send them one in a box.
But if it's me they're after,
then I think they'll take me
dressed the way I am.
INT. COMMITTEE ROOM IN CONGRESS - DAY
The Ways and Means Committee is holding hearings.
Next let's hear from the walnut people,
and please see if you can make it brief.
Steagall speaks privately to a peanut associate.
It looks like our time will be short
and their patience even shorter.
I hope Carver knows what to say.
Carver gets up to leave the room.
EXT. STREET BY THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN - DAY
Carver is walking along when he notices a particular shrub. He bends down and examines it carefully. Then he stands and calls to the attendant.
Sir, would you come over here, please?
What's the trouble?
There is a fungus on the underside of this shrub.
See to it that it is treated soon,
or it will spread to other plants.
I'll report it to our botanist.
CARVER (v. o.)
I knew there was a reason I was to come here.
INT. COMMITTEE ROOM - AFTERNOON
Carver is watching the proceedings.
VIRGINIA PEANUT MAN
We ask only for an import duty
that would equalize the difference
between producing peanuts abroad with cheap labor
and here with our free American labor.
That's all anybody's asking.
We'll consider it. Thank you.
Next is George W. Carver.
Carver grabs his cases and starts through the crowd from the back amid laughter and sniggers.
Reckon if he gets a few peanuts
to go with his watermelon,
he'll be a right happy coon.
Since it's so late,
we'll have to cut your time to ten minutes.
What do you know about the tariff?
Not a thing.
I'm here to talk about peanuts,
and the possibilities of its extension,
but we'll have to hurry if we're going to extend it,
because in ten minutes you'll tell me to stop.
Laughter and confusion reign for a moment. Carver takes a clump of chocolate-covered peanuts.
You don't know how delicious this is,
so I'll taste it for you.
He drops it in his mouth amid laughter. He starts unpacking his cases on a table.
In my agricultural research work,
I have found that the peanut
is one of the very richest products of the soil.
If I can have a little space
to put these things down---thank you---
I'll show a few of the products
I've developed from the peanut.
This breakfast food contains
peanut and sweet potato;
it is wholesome, easily digested, and delicious.
The peanut and sweet potato are twin brothers.
If all other food were destroyed,
a person could live well
on peanuts and sweet potatoes,
for they contain all nutriments necessary to man.
What is that other stuff?
Here is ice cream powder made from the peanut.
Simply mixed with water, it produces
an unusually rich and delicious ice cream,
not to be distinguished from ice cream
made with pure cream.
These bottles have dyes
extracted from the skin of peanuts.
I have found thirty different dyes.
They have been tested in the laboratory
and found to hold their colors
and to be harmless to the skin.
Here is a substitute for quinine.
We can hardly overestimate the many
and varied medicinal properties of the peanut.
These are various kinds of food for livestock.
You will find that cattle thrive on them,
and the increase in milk is pronounced.
I have two dozen or so others,
but I see my time is about up.
I should like to say that
the soil and climate of the South
is particularly suited to the cultivation of peanuts
and that they could be produced
in much greater quantities
if a larger market for them were developed.
It would seem a great pity
if this crop were lost to us
and our people forced to depend on
foreign and inferior peanuts.
Mr. Chairman, all this is very interesting.
I think his time should be extended.
Very well. Gentlemen, do you all agree?
Yes. Yes. Go on.
Will you continue, Mr. Carver?
I shall be happy to do so, sir.
Is the varied use of the peanut increasing?
Oh, yes. We are just beginning to know its value.
In that case,
is it not going to be such a valuable product
that the more we have of them here
the better off we are?
Well, now, that depends.
It depends upon the problems
that these other gentlemen have brought before you.
Could we get too much of them,
they being so valuable
for stock food and everything else?
Well, of course we would have to
have protection for them.
That is, we could not allow other countries
to come over and take over our rights.
I thought you said you didn't know
anything about the tariff.
Well, I know it's what keeps the other fellow
out of our business. (Laughter)
I wish to say here in all sincerity
that America produces better peanuts
than any other part of the world,
so far as I have been able to find out.
Then we need not fear
these inferior peanuts from abroad.
They would not compete with our better peanuts.
Well, you know that's like everything else.
You know some people like oleomargarine
just as well as they do butter.
So sometimes you have to protect a good thing.
The dairy people did not ask for a tax on butter,
but they did put a tax on oleomargarine.
And they did use the taxing power
to put it out of business.
Oh, yes, yes, sir. That is all the tariff means---
to put the other fellow out. (Laughter)
Maybe---maybe I'd better stop.
Go ahead, brother. Your time is unlimited.
Well, here is milk from peanuts.
Don't you think we ought to
put a tax on peanut milk
so as to keep it from competing
with the dairy products?
No, sir. It is not going to affect the dairy product.
It has a distinct value all its own.
Why won't it replace the dairy product?
We do not now have as much milk and butter
as we need in the United States.
How does it go in punch? (Laughter)
Well, I will give you some punches. (Laughter)
Good! Attaboy! (Laughter)
Here is one with orange, here one with lemon,
and this one with cherry.
Here is instant coffee
which already has in it cream and sugar.
Here is the preparation for making regular coffee.
Here is buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, pickles---
all made from the peanut.
Did you make all those products yourself?
They are made in the research laboratory.
That's what a research laboratory is for.
Sweet potato products number
one hundred seven up to date.
What? I didn't catch that last statement.
Yes, indeed---I said one hundred and seven.
From sweet potatoes we have made
ink, relishes, pomade, mucilage,
to mention only a few things.
But I must stick to peanuts. (Laughter)
The peanut will beat the sweet potato by far.
I have barely begun on it.
Here are mock oysters
which would fool most of you.
I have developed recipes
for mock meat dishes from peanuts.
They are delicious.
We are going to use less and less meat
as science develops the products of nature.
So you're going to ruin the livestock business.
Oh, no. But peanuts can be eaten when meat can't.
Peanuts are the perfect food.
They are always safe.
Where did you learn all this?
From a book.
It says that God has given us everything for our use.
He has revealed to me
some of the wonders of this fruit of His earth.
In the first chapter of Genesis we are told,
"Behold, I have given you
every herb that bears seed
upon the face of the earth,
and every tree bearing seed.
To you it shall be meat."
That's what He means about it---meat.
There is everything there to strengthen,
nourish and keep the body alive and healthy.
Thank you, gentleman.
The committee stands and applauds and is joined by the spectators clapping.
INT. TUSKEGEE BANK - DAY
Carver walks up to the teller.
I need my salary check.
I'm sorry, but the checks don't go out
until the first of the month.
Young man, you're new
and don't know what's going on.
Please talk to someone who does.
The teller walks over to Mr. Logan's office.
Oh Mr. Logan, Mr. Carver says
he wants his next check already.
Mr. Logan comes out.
Well, let's give it to him.
How did the tariff bill go, Professor?
They voted a duty of three cents a pound
on unshelled peanut imports
and four cents on shelled.
Mr. Logan has pulled a check out of a drawer and cashed it for Carver who leaves. Mr. Logan shows the teller a stack of Carver's checks.
Now these are Professor Carver's salary checks.
Look at the date on the next one.
May first, nineteen fifteen!
That's almost eight years ago.
He just cashed his April check for nineteen fifteen,
and he's making the same
one hundred twenty-five dollars a month
Dr. Washington offered him when he first came here.
Oh, he must make a lot on his discoveries in industry.
Not a penny. They say he's like a gold prospector
who once he's found the gold,
let's someone else work the mine.
He's never even patented one of his discoveries.
Well, hasn't he been offered a raise?
Many times, but he just refuses.
He has no use for more money, he says,
since he has the whole earth.
Thomas Edison offered him
a salary that ran to six figures,
but he said that
even though Dr. Washington has died,
he made an agreement,
and his work is here with Tuskegee.
INT. CARVER'S STUDY - AFTERNOON
A white lady is talking with Carver.
I so much would like you to hear me play
when we dedicate the new organ
at the Methodist Church.
I'm afraid not.
I asked the minister
and the leaders of the congregation,
and they have agreed.
I appreciate your asking, and thank you again.
But if your playing is to be in tune,
nothing untoward must enter in and mar its grace.
If I were to step inside your church,
there would certainly be some individuals
who would make me feel not welcome.
By the time the hustling, bustling
and looking around at me and wondering,
"What's he doing here?" were over,
and a suitably removed place
had been found for me to sit,
I would not be in tune.
The best within me could not respond.
Besides soon I am going
on a speaking tour of the South,
and I shall have enough to endure then.
I'm sorry. As religious people,
how could we better race relations?
There is too much religion
and not enough Christianity---
too many creeds and not enough performance.
This world is perishing for kindness.
INT. NEGRO SCHOOL - DAY
Carver is lecturing.
"Goobers" as peanuts were called in Africa
were the food that kept alive the few Negroes
that made it across the Atlantic in the slave ships.
Today we find that they are part
of the new agricultural advances
that are saving the economy of the South.
The mysteries of the peanut
are being revealed to me
through long contact with our Creator.
Mysteries are things we don't understand,
because we haven't learned to tune in.
A while ago when radios were new,
a man invited me to listen to some music
and then left the room.
I sat in silence for an hour.
The music was there,
but it was a mystery to me
because I didn't know how to tune it in.
There are three kinds of ignorance---
honest, stubborn, and cussed.
Cussed is worst,
because it is the curse of not knowing
that God loves all His creatures.
EXT. PARK IN MONTGOMERY - MORNING
Carver is strolling and enjoying the gardens. A PARK KEEPER sees him and yells at him.
Hey! What are you doin' here?
Don't you know niggers ain't allowed?
INT. TRAIN - DAY
Carver riding in the Jim Crow car has a sore neck and throat. He coughs hoarsely and tries to get some sleep. The CONDUCTOR walks by Carver.
Dr. Carver, may I have your ticket?
I seem to have forgotten where I placed it.
That's okay; I know how it is
with you absent-minded professors.
He laughs, but Carver plays one up on him, continuing his search for the ticket.
No, wait. You see I must find it,
because I've forgotten where I'm going.
Oh, here it is. Arlington, Virginia.
INT. MEETING ROOM ARLINGTON - AFTERNOON
Carver is lecturing to businessmen.
I am filled with enthusiasm and hope,
realizing the challenging manufacturing opportunities
for pharmaceutical drug laboratories.
I have made a list of
fifty-six medicinal plants of value
found right here in the state of Virginia.
Applause, His voice has given out as he coughs hoarsely and sits down.
EXT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - DAY
Carver is unlocking the door. A LAB ASSISTANT joins him.
Welcome back to Tuskegee, Professor Carver.
CARVER (Rasping voice)
Thank you, Stephen.
What's the matter with your voice?
I must find a remedy---maybe creosote.
Ugh! Creosote tastes terrible.
Maybe I'll add some (Cough) peanut oil.
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - AFTERNOON
A NURSE enters with LONNY JOHNSTON who is on crutches due to an injured knee, leaving the leg several inches shorter than the other. Carver has just let them in the door.
Professor Carver, we thought that
the Penol being manufactured now
that has cured so many colds on this campus
might in some way be able to help Lonny's knee.
We're hoping you can help.
Lay down on this table here, Lonnie,
and now we'll just ask the good Lord
to offer some assistance here.
Carver takes a bottle of oil and begins to massage the boy's knee.
You know I was the Iowa State rubber
for the baseball and football teams
in ninety-four and ninety-five.
I wanted to play baseball
before I got my knee kicked by that horse.
I think this peanut oil will work better
than the cottonseed oil we used to use.
Womenfolk have taken to using it on their skin.
Yeah, until they found out the protein in it
added flesh to their faces and made them look fat.
Does that feel better now, Lonnie?
Yes, sir. It feels looser, and fresher.
NURSE (with an idea)
I wonder. You know we've been getting
some cases of infantile paralysis.
Do you suppose this
could help their debilitated muscles?
I can't promise, but if God is willing.
Lonnie, you be sure
to come back here everyday after school,
and we'll see if we can
get your knee to bend properly again, okay?
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - SATURDAY AFTERNOON
Carver and the nurse are working on a small boy's arm that is withered from infantile paralysis.
You see life ends here,
but we'll work to extend
the vitality into these muscles.
They're really lined up out there today
since that newspaper article stated
that you cured infantile paralysis with your peanut oil.
I can't claim the cure for these treatments.
God is the healer,
and the peanut oil is His remedy.
I have received fifty letters a day
asking for the cure.
Some want me to bottle it at a high price,
but I tell them to simply get the peanut oil
at their corner grocery
for eighty-five cents a half gallon.
There is a disturbance outside, and the boisterous voice of an INTRUDER is heard.
Where's that Dr. Carver? I want to see him!
He breaks his way into the room.
Are you Dr. Carver?
I want you to fix this bad leg of mine.
I'm sorry, but I can't do that.
Carver turns and continues to work on the boy.
Don't you turn your back on me, nigger!
I drove a hundred miles to get my leg fixed,
and now you tell me you can't!
You'd better have a damned good reason!
Neither my prayers
nor the power of this medicine
could possibly penetrate
the profanity in your heart.
You would rather hate me
than be helped by me.
So I can't help you.
Do you understand?
The man stares at Carver and then stomps out.
Weren't you rather hard on him?
It's what he needed.
They can't throw water in my face
and expect me to think it's raining.
Hundreds of people come here
with sincere hearts to be healed---
these we can help.
There's no point in wasting time on one like him.
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - MORNING
Carver is working, singing to himself. There is a knock on the door. Carver opens the door to see AUSTIN CURTIS.
Dr. Carver, I'm your new assistant,
Pleased to meet you.
They shake hands.
Take a look around and get adjusted;
meet some people to see how
we do things here at Tuskegee.
Oh, and you can use
that room over there for your lab.
Thank you, sir.
Carver closes the door, and Curtis stands there bewildered for a moment.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - AFTERNOON
Carver and Curtis are walking back from class.
About your lecture---your delivery was fine,
and what you had to say was excellent,
but the students didn't understand you.
Bring it down to earth.
Don't put the fodder up so high
the cow can't reach it.
INT. LABORATORY - DAY
Curtis off in a corner is experimenting with magnolia grandiflora extracting oil from the seeds. Carver has been working, but walks across the room to Curtis.
What are you doing there?
I've gotten some brown pigments
out of the magnolia cone.
What's this here?
I'm trying to make soap
using the oil from the magnolia seeds
instead of palm oil,
but there's too much glycerin.
I've checked the books.
My boy, if you are going to research, then research.
I never take a book into my research lab;
books are fine for reference information.
But now you'll have to find
the solution in your formula.
How much caustic soda are you using?
Carver strolls back to his work.
EXT. ROAD TO TUSKEGEE - AFTERNOON
Carver and Curtis are walking toward town. A tramp comes up to them.
Could you spare a dime, sir,
for something to eat?
Carver gives the man some change, and he hurries off toward town.
Thank you kindly.
Look at that.
Between here and the nearest place
he can buy a meal,
there is enough nutritious food
growing along the fences
to sustain him for a week.
And a balanced diet, too.
Carver picks a wild berry and eats it.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - DAY
A new 1937 Ford is parked near Carver's study.
INT. CARVER'S STUDY - DAY
Carver and HENRY FORD are chatting when there is a pounding on the door. Curtis deftly slides in before the press and closes the door.
Sir, the press would like an interview
with you and Mr. Henry Ford here.
Well, let them in.
We'll never have a peaceful talk until you do.
Curtis opens the door, and three enthusiastic REPORTERS flock in.
Mr. Ford, how often do you plan
to visit Tuskegee in the future?
Dr. Carver and I have a warm friendship
and have agreed to meet at least once a year.
Dr. Carver is always welcome
at my home in Dearborn
or my plantation in Georgia.
I should like to announce that
this summer there will be
an on-the-job training program
at the Ford Motor Company
for several Tuskegee students.
Also we have built the George W. Carver school
for the colored children of Dearborn.
What are you using the thousands of acres
of soybeans you planted in Michigan for?
With the professor's help,
we are going to be substituting agricultural products
for steel, iron, and glass in our new automobiles.
Experiments show that five pounds of soybeans
can replace twenty-five pounds of metal.
What about the rumor that the fields of goldenrod
at your Georgia plantation will yield a synthetic
to replace natural rubber?
We're not sure that this is going to be practical
for large-scale production,
but we hope to develop a rubber
to meet our nation's needs.
What do you think about the future of synthetics?
Dr. Carver could probably answer that better than I.
Besides, our views are exactly the same anyway.
God gave us the mineral kingdom,
the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom,
and now He is adding the synthetic kingdom.
I believe that the progress of our civilization
has three phases.
First man discovered the raw materials
that ever-beneficent nature provides.
Then he began to adapt
and develop varied uses for materials.
Now we're entering
the most exciting stage of our evolution,
that of creating new things
by making chemical changes.
What is the importance of this change for us today?
I believe the Creator has put
ores and oil on this earth
to give us a breathing spell.
As we exhaust them,
we must be prepared to fall back on our farms,
which is God's true storehouse
and can never be exhausted.
For we can learn to synthesize materials
for every human need from the things that grow.
I understand that
you are inventing a new soybean food
at the request of Gandhi, the Indian vegetarian.
Gandhi is a man of God.
He, in his way,
is one of the most spiritual of all living souls.
He listens to God
and does everything on the unselfish spiritual basis.
This is the source of his power.
What about Edison?
Do you agree with those
who considered him an atheist?
Little, conventional people
whose religion is shallow
and whose prayers are not real enough
to reach the ceiling,
called Edison an atheist,
because he did not define God
exactly as they defined Him.
Edison was one of the most religious of all men.
I have correspondence with Edison that I prize,
as I have with Gandhi,
and I don't know which is the greater believer---
for both know that
what they do comes not from them,
but from the Creator.
It is not we little men that do the work,
but our blessed Creator working through us.
Why is it that so few people can have this power?
They can, if they only believe.
Truth is more real,
infinitely more real than this table
which the materialist so thoroughly believes in.
If you would only believe, O ye of little faith.
EXT. CAR ON A SOUTHERN ROAD - MORNING
JIM HARDWICK is driving GLENN CLARK to see Carver.
How did you first meet Dr. Carver?
One day he came to the town where I lived
and gave a lecture on his discoveries of the peanut.
I went expecting to learn science
and came away knowing more about prayer
than I had ever learned in the theological schools.
Then when the old gentleman was leaving the hall
he turned to me where I stood transfixed and inspired,
and said, "I want you to be one of my boys."
You must have felt honored by his selecting you.
No, just the opposite.
My grandfathers were owners of slaves.
I naturally had a strong southern prejudice against Negroes.
For a "nigger" to assume the right of adopting me
into his family---even his spiritual family---
was brazen effrontery to my pride.
What did you do?
I went home and tried to remove Dr. Carver
entirely out of my mind.
But even though I tried,
I could not erase the effect of the lecture.
Then a few evenings later I seriously needed help,
and almost unconsciously I found my thoughts
on this simple old scientist
who had found God in the hills and fields,
and instantly it seemed that his spirit filled that room.
And his spirit was white, mind you,
as white as any saint's in heaven.
A peace entered me, and my problems just fell away.
Since then I've found that
merely thinking about that dear old gentleman
creates an atmosphere about me
in which God can come very, very near to me.
So that's the source of your spiritual strength.
I've learned much of Dr. Carver since then.
Do you know that his peanut milk
has saved countless infants' lives in Africa?
They have no cows, because of the wild beasts,
and if the mother of a child died or was dry,
the baby would die.
But now they can drink the peanut milk.
The Prince of Wales and the Crown Prince of Sweden
came to learn of his wisdom,
and the Soviet Union asked him to come to Russia
to help with their five-year plan for agriculture.
An assistant of his did go.
I am most anxious to meet him.
EXT. CARVER'S STUDY - DAY
Jim Hardwick and Glenn Clark get out of the car and are greeted by Carver.
Jimmy, so glad to see you again!
I want you to meet Glenn Clark.
Friend, how long I've waited to meet you,
but I doubt if we'll be able to talk today.
I am so glad to meet you,
but what is preventing our talk.
Every Saturday afternoon
my infantile paralysis patients
come in a steady stream until bedtime,
and I haven't a moment for myself.
I hold this day and Sunday sacred for them---
unless it rains in which case we ask them to stay home.
I believe that God intended for us to talk,
and that it is going to rain.
INT. GOD'S LITTLE WORKSHOP - RAINY AFTERNOON
Carver is showing Clark and Jim Hardwick some purple clay.
This is the lost purple of Egypt.
Only in one other place in the world
can that clay be found.
How did you find it?
I talked with God one morning,
and He led me to it.
When I had brought my friends
and we had dug it up,
they wanted to dig further.
But I said not to dig down farther,
because God told me that's all there was.
Sure enough, there wasn't anymore.
In the Bible it says, "I will lift up mine eyes
unto the hills from whence cometh my help."
Clark admires a painting of roses.
How did you do that?
With my fingers.
Did you copy these roses?
I never copy. I paint only what I see inside.
What kind of canvas is this painted on?
Material which I created from cornstalks.
Where did you get the paint?
Some workmen were excavating
to put a new pipe under my steps,
and I used some of the clay they dug out
to create these colors.
When you came in here just now,
you were literally "walking on roses."
There is nothing I ever wanted to do,
that I asked the blessed Creator to help me to do,
that I have not been able to accomplish.
Not at all.
It is simply seeking the Lord and finding Him.
In Proverbs He said,
"Those who seek me early shall find me."
So I follow His advice.
All my life I have risen regularly at four o'clock
and have gone into the woods and talked with God.
There He gives me my orders for the day.
Alone there with the things I love most
I gather specimens and study the great lessons
Nature is so eager to teach us all.
When people are still asleep
I hear God best and learn my plan.
You talk to flowers and plants,
and they give up their secrets to you.
How do you do it?
You have to love them enough.
Anything will give up its secrets to you
if you love enough.
Not with just a little flower or the peanut,
but I have found that
when I silently commune with people
that they give up their secrets too---
if you love them enough.
In a crowded auditorium I can pick out
the spiritual souls almost immediately.
I have two requests.
Will you come to Minnesota
and speak at our school for the Christian Crusade?
The doctor is against my traveling long journeys,
but if this old body of mine is able, I'll be there.
And second, may we join in silent prayer?
With a thankful heart!
INT. NEW YORKER HOTEL LOBBY – DAY
New Yorker Hotel, September 1939
Carver and Curtis with luggage approach the DESK CLERK.
I am Austin Curtis, and this is Dr. Carver.
I wrote to you, and we have reservations.
I am sorry; all our rooms are filled right now.
This hotel promised us rooms in writing,
and we will wait.
All right, you can wait on the third floor foyer.
INT. NEW YORKER HOTEL THIRD FLOOR FOYER – DAY
Carver is sitting in a chair by the Men’s Room when JOHN WOODBURN and some black and white reporters come in.
We got your call.
These reporters may be able to help.
Are they still denying you rooms?
Yes, it’s been six hours.
I asked Charles Gorham of Doubleday
to request a room.
This is like trying to sleep in a chair
in a Jim Crow car because Pullman
has no sleeping cars for Negroes.
INT. NEW YORKER HOTEL LOBBY – DAY
Charles Gorham approaches the desk clerk.
May I help you, sir?
Yes, I am Charles Gorham,
and I would like a room right away.
Certainly, we can accommodate you.
The room is not for me but for Dr. Carver.
I’m sorry, sir,
there are no rooms available just now.
The reporters approach the desk.
These men are reporters,
and Doubleday will bring
legal action against this hotel
if Dr. Carver’s room reservation is not honored.
In that case I think I can find something.
INT. CHAPEL MACALESTER COLLEGE - EVENING
The choir is singing. Carver whispers to Clark.
Please keep people away from me after I speak
as I am usually too tired to talk to anyone.
The song ends, and Clark stands to introduce Carver.
May I introduce Dr. George Washington Carver,
the man who talks with the flowers.
They stand and applaud.
How do I talk to a flower?
Through it I talk to the Infinite.
And what is the Infinite?
It isn't the outer physical contact.
It is the silent force,
the still small voice that calls up the fairies.
I refer to the unseen Spirit
that defies the power of human expression.
Words can't express it.
Yet, when you look out
upon God's beautiful world,
there it is.
When you look into the heart of a rose,
there you experience it.
But you can't explain it.
Certain things like a little flower
cause you to look within---
and then you see into the soul of things.
The soul is infinite.
I am not trying to describe the soul,
but the soul is all that we have
that is worth living for---
all that we have.
You take that away,
and we become worse
than the beasts in the field.
But a thing that is incarnate
with the life of the soul---
like a little flower---
you can reach out and look into it
and suddenly find that
you are taking hold of the things
that lift you up and carry you along
and make people love you and you them,
and give you joy of living
and the joy of having come
into the place God has for you,
and the exuberance of filling that place in life.
How does it do this? Do you know?
Neither do I. But I do know
that there are people who are like flowers,
just as simply in touch with God
and incarnate with His Spirit,
and there is no greater thrill that one can get
than reaching out and touching these great souls.
Carver sits down as the audience stands and applauds. Several people congregate around him, but he is oblivious to most of them. A lady whispers in his ear, and he smiles and gives her the purple flower from his lapel.
INT. TAXI CAB ST. PAUL - NIGHT
Clark and Carver are riding in the back seat. Carver holds one of the flowers that was in a floral decoration earlier.
I noticed that you responded
to some of the people and not to others.
Could you perceive the spiritual ones?
That was easy. The lady who wanted my flower
was one of the most spiritual ones.
Wasn't that sweet of her to ask for it?
The people were wonderful,
standing to applaud an old man---twice even.
A quiet moment as Carver gazes at the white flower in his hand.
In the silence a few minutes ago,
I was talking to this flower,
and it was telling me some wonderful things,
and flowers always tell me the truth.
It told me there is going to be
a great spiritual awakening in the world,
and it is going to come from plain, simple people
who know---not merely believe---but actually know
that God answers prayer.
It is going to be a great revival
of the true Christian spirit, not of religion.
It will rise from men and women
who are going about their work
and putting God into what they do,
who believe in prayer,
and who want to make God real to mankind.
Our Institute of Prayer is endeavoring to help.
This is part of what I'm talking about,
and I will be with you in Spirit
when you speak in Washington.
INT. CARVER MUSEUM - AFTERNOON
Carver and Curtis are stepping out of the elevator, and walk past several displays of Carver's products.
Imagine Mr. Ford building an elevator
for an old man like me!
How do you like living in your own museum, sir?
Ah, you and your ideas
to display all these things that
the Creator has brought forth
using me as an instrument.
They are a monument to your work,
if I may say so.
You can say so,
but I don't have to agree with you.
A monument is a cold stone
remembrance of what is past,
but these products are no longer mine,
and they are to be used by all humanity.
In Coffee, Alabama
they erected a statue to the boll weevil.
Because the crisis it brought to them
made them turn to the prosperity
they found in the peanut.
EXT. CARVER MUSEUM - AFTERNOON
Carver holds Curtis's arm as they walk out of the museum.
Well, sir, now that there is
a second world war going on,
they're beginning to use
some of your suggestions
on dehydrated foods
and other economical substitutes.
These products stand on their own merits.
They are just new to people.
You know in the first world war,
we saved money here at Tuskegee
by using sweet potato flour in with the wheat flour.
The government finally decided it would work---
you know it tasted delicious,
much better than the substitutes they had tried.
But then the war ended, and they forgot about it.
People search for these things more in difficult times.
What have you observed about the public's attitude
in relation to the acceptance of your discoveries?
There are three stages.
First is the "knocking" stage,
when the article must face hostile critics.
This is good because it tests the new product,
and it must prove its superiority.
Then there is a period of apathy,
when everyone seems to be conspiring to remain silent;
the opposition has quieted.
Then as people realize the value of the new discovery,
everyone rushes in to exploit it,
and you can rest assured that
the commercial development will take care of itself.
EXT. TUSKEGEE CAMPUS - BEFORE DAWN
Carver is on his daily nature walk. Watching a bird fly by, he stumbles and falls. Two nearby students rush over and help him to his feet.
We'll help you to your room where you can rest.
I have work to do.
If you could just assist me to the laboratory.
INT. CARVER'S MUSEUM ROOM - DAY
Carver is sitting up in bed painting Christmas cards that say "Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men." MRS. JUANITA JONES comes in.
Mrs. Jones, will you ask
Mr. Lyles at the greenhouse
to give everyone a plant
for their Christmas gift this year?
Of course, sir. Still painting?
Yes, it's still a great love of mine---
to bring a little brightness into people's lives.
INT. CARVER'S MUSEUM ROOM - SUNSET
Carver is reading the old Bible that Aunt Mariah gave him. Mrs. Jones enters.
Will you eat something now, Professor?
Maybe a little warm milk.
What day is today?
Tonight Glenn Clark speaks in Washington
for the Institute of Prayer.
Anything else, Professor?
I think I'll rest now.
INT. AUDITORIUM WASHINGTON - NIGHT
Glenn Clark is speaking before a large assembly of people.
On wings of prayer we soar into the highest heaven
and silently commune with the Holy Spirit,
and then we know that we can do our Father's work
here on this earth!
INT. CARVER'S MUSEUM ROOM - NIGHT
There is a lighted candle in the room, and Carver is resting peacefully with a serene smile on his face.
INT. AUDITORIUM WASHINGTON - NIGHT
The entire audience of people are standing singing with the choir the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah."
EXT. CARVER MUSEUM - DAY
While we hear the singing, we see the statue of Carver in front of the Carver Museum as the credits roll.
-end of Part Two-
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