George Washington Carver was born into slavery near the beginning of the Civil War. While George's mother was sold and sent away, his former owner was able to get him and his brother back. He exchanged a horse for them. The owner raised George and his brother as his own.
After emancipation, Carver tried his luck at various ventures including college and homesteading. He failed at everything he tried.
He tried one last ditch effort at college. He was the first black student at Simpson College in Iowa. He did well this time. He earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree at Iowa State Agricultural College - later known as Iowa State University. They appointed him to the faculty as a professor.
Booker T. Washington then hired George Washington Carver to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and he became the greatest American scientist in the nineteenth century. They called him "the wizard of Tuskegee." He developed three hundred products from the peanut and one hundred eighteen products from the sweet potato.
Not bad for a fellow who started off as a failure.