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Free-born on a tobacco farm in Baltimore County, MD, Banneker was the first African American man of science and mathematics. Among his scientific achievements are crafting the first wooden striking clock in America, writing several widely popular almanacs, and assisting with surveying Washington, D.C.

Banneker also protested against slavery. In a bold 1791 letter to Thomas Jefferson, Banneker compared the righteous fight for freedom by the Colonists to the plight of the enslaved person in America. Since Jefferson’s response seemed to acknowledge Banneker’s reasoning, he wisely published their correspondence in one of his almanacs. In later life, he kept a detailed journal of his nature studies, especially his examination of bees.

Among the MD organizations honoring Banneker is the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum in Baltimore Country, which is situated on Banneker’s original homestead. In 1980, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of this self-taught scientist’s achievements.

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Credit: Bannker-Douglas Musuem