Benjamin Banneker

Birth~November 9, 1731

Benjamin Banneker is born in Baltimore County, Maryland to Robert, an ex-slave and Mary, the daughter of an Englishwoman and an African ex-slave. Benjamin is one of a couple hundred free blacks among a population of nearly 4000 slaves and 13,000 whites.

Early Accomplishments

In 1753, Banneker constructed a striking clock made of mostly wood. He designs came from his own calculations and drawings. And the clock worked for 40 years, until it was destroyed in a fire.
Later on in 1771, Benjamin became friends with the Ellicott brothers. In which they encouraged him to study and learn astronomy and mathematics. They even loan him tools for astronomy.
And in 1788, Banneker predicts a solar eclipse. He used the tools loaned to him by the Ellicott brothers. And his prediction was nearly accurate and he later discovered that the error was not due to a miscalculation on his part but rather a discrepancy in his expert sources.

Later Accomplishments

Sometime in February 1791 Banneker is hired by Major Andrew Ellicott, cousin of the Ellicott brothers, to assist in surveying land along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.. Pierre L'Enfant, the architect in charge of planning, is suddenly dismissed from the project and took the plans with him. Banneker is able to recreate the plans from memory saving the U.S. government a lot of time and money having to re-design the city.
In 1792, Benjamin publishes his first almanac Banneker's almanacs are based on his own calculations. The almanacs also include literature, commentaries, and fillers that have a humanitarian and political nature. The almanacs are released in a number of editions over a six-year period from 1792 through 1797. Then, in 1793, Thomas Jefferson's letters are included in the almanacs.
In 1797, due to declining sales, Banneker's last almanac is published. Then, that same year, Benjamin sells his family farm to the Ellicot brothers.
Finally, on October 9, 1806, Benjamin died in his small cabin in Baltimore, Maryland.