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Benjamin Banneker


Benjamin Banneker was a farm owner who was largely self taught in mathematics and astrology. He was born on November 4, 1731 in Baltimore County Maryland. His father Robert was a freed slave and his mother Mary Banneky was the daughter of a free American slave and an Englishwoman. Banneker was taught to read by his maternal grandmother. In 1753, Banneker constructed the first striking clock made up of hand carved wooden parts. Banneker was highly influenced in the area of astrology by his neighbor George Ellicott. Ellicott lent Banneker tools and books on the subject of astrology. In 1791, Banneker was hired by Andrew Ellicott as a replacement to assist in the survey of the boundaries of a new Federal district. Banneker made astronomical calculations in astronomy that he included in a six year series of almanacs from 1792 through 1797.Banneker was very clear on his views on slavery and racial equality. He expressed these views in a letter to Thomas Jefferson that he placed within his 1793 almanac. Unfortunately sales of Banneker's almanac's declined by 1797. Benjamin Banneker died on October 9, 1806 at the age of 74. Benjamin Banneker is recognized today as the first African American Scientist.

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