Benjamin Banneker was a man ahead of his time. He was born in Maryland on November 9, 1731. Unlike many blacks at the time, he was free. As a child, he helped with the crops and livestock his family owned. He only went to school during the winter. Eventually, he worked on the family farm full time and stopped going to school.
But he never stopped learning. Benjamin loved to read and would devour any books he got his hands on. He also loved to tinker with mechanical things. He built a clock that rang on the hour every hour for 50 years!
He also loved to look at the stars, and he loved math. These interests helped when he wrote his first almanac in 1791. Eventually, Benjamin became known for his ability to survey and calculate. He was the only black person chosen to work on the new Federal Territory, what would become Washington D.C. He helped survey the land and place cornerstones which still stand today.
Benjamin continued to publish yearly almanacs until 1797, when his health began failing.
If you'd like to read more about this amazing man and his accomplishments, pick up a copy of BENJAMIN BANNEKER: SELF-MADE MAN, just out from Teacher Created Materials.