Benjamin Banneker was a creator, scientist, surveyor, and publisher. Born November 9, 1731 Benjamin Banneker was the son of a free woman and a former slave. His mother was born free in America, his father was born free in Africa, captured and brought to the United States. Benjamin was a son of Africa and America. He should be considered one of the first African-American in the United States..
His only formal education was in a school founded by Peter Hendricks, a Quaker. Benjamin attended until he was needed on the family’s farm. The breadth of his scientific knowledge was developed by self-education.
At the age of 22 Banneker invented a wooden clock that struck on every hour. It remained operable for over fifty years after Banneker’s death.
In 1790 Banneker joined Major Andrew Ellacott in surveying the boundaries of the new capital city, Washington D.C. After becoming ill Banneker resigned from the group and returned to his farm in Baltimore County Maryland.
After receiving books on astronomy Banneker taught himself to master this science. His first entrance into this field was the calculation of a solar eclipse. He started to keep a series of journals where he daily recorded his astronomical observations.
In the 1790’s Banneker started compiling and publishing almanacs. These almanacs gave voice to many in the abolitionist movement as proof of African-American scholarly abilities and genius.
Banneker studied the stars. He looked to the heavens to find answers that quenched his thirst to know the secrets of the universe. He was an explorer and an inventor. Hidden in his imagination was the dream to create. Although he wasn’t the first to pursue the knowledge revealed in the constellation, neither was he the first to construct a clock, he was exceptional because he dared to do more than dream. From his dreams he created.
The keys to Benjamin Banneker’s success was:
1. He was born in a free environment.
2. He loved learning and pursued knowledge all of his life.
3. He created opportunities for himself.
4. He proved his critics wrong by creating excellence.
5. He did exceptional things out of a creative mind.
6. He explored the mysteries of creation.
7. His dreams became his reality.