Jump to
Latest Headlines Collections Wiki
share with facebook
share with twitter
1 of 29
Obama gives back-to-school speech in Washington
US President Barack Obama delivers his third annual Back-to-School Speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2011. President Obama encouraged students to study hard and take responsibility for their education, urging students to set goals, to believe in themselves. UPI/Shawn Thew/POOL
| License Photo

Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, almanac author and farmer.

Although it is difficult to verify details of Benjamin Banneker's family history, it appears that he was a grandson of a European American named Molly Welsh. The story goes that Molly met a slave named Banneka when she purchased him to help establish a farm located near the future site of Ellicott's Mills, west of Baltimore, Maryland. This part of Maryland was out of the mainstream of the colonial South, and as result had a more tolerant attitude toward African Americans than did colonial areas in which slavery was more prevalent.

Perhaps a member of the Dogon tribe (reputed to have a historical knowledge of astronomy), Banneka may have cleared Molly's land, solved irrigation problems, and implemented a crop rotation for her. Soon thereafter, Molly freed and married Banneka, who may have shared his knowledge of astronomy with her.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Benjamin Banneker."