“Keep on Keeping On” was the theme of Dr. J. L. Leach’s keynote address honoring the center’s namesake, George Washington Carver, at its dedication in late 1944.

Dr. Leach celebrated the city of Peoria for the creation of the center, underlining that “money spent to prevent crime is far better than an investment of millions of dollars to segregate criminals and maintain them at the public’s expense.”

He concluded by emphasizing that Peoria’s black population would also have to be worthy of the Center: “So often we invite criticism and ill feeling by our own conduct.”