Benjamin Banneker 1731-1806 A free African American astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, almanac author and farmer. __________________________________________________________________Published Almanacs from 1792-1797 Weather forecasts Motions of the Sun and Moon Aspects of the Planets Rising and Setting of the Sun and moon Solar eclipses and lunar eclipses Days for holding the Supreme and Circuit Courts __________________________________________________________ Clock-making He carved wooden replicas of a pocket watch he had borrowed from a merchant. The clock continued to work until his death. __________________________________________________________ Letter to Thomas Jefferson on racism August 19, 1791 …Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves. And now, Sir, I shall conclude, and subscribe myself, with the most profound respect, Your most obedient humble servant, BENJAMIN BANNEKER __________________________________________________________Thomas Jefferson's reply to Banneker Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791. Sir, I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th. instant and for the Almanac it contained. no body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men, & that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa & America. I can add with truth that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecillity of their present existence, and other circumstance which cannot be neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of sending your almanac to Monsieur De Condorcet, Secretary of the Academy of sciences at Paris, and member of the Philanthropic society because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them. I am with great esteem, Sir, Your most obedt. humble servt. Th. Jefferson ___________________________________________________________Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Marquis de Condorcet On the same day that he replied to Banneker, Jefferson sent a letter to the Marquis de Condorcet that contained the following paragraph relating to Banneker's race, abilities, almanac and work with Andrew Ellicott. August 30, 1791 I am happy to be able to inform you that we have now in the United States a negro, the son of a black man born in Africa, and of a black woman born in the United States, who is a very respectable Mathematician. I promised him to be employed under one of our chief directors in laying out the new federal city on the Patowmac, & in the intervals of his leisure, while on that work, he made an almanac for the next year, which he sent to me in his own handwriting, & which I inclose to you. I have seen very elegant solutions of Geometrical problems by him. add to this that he is a very respectable member of society. he is a free man. I shall be delighted to see these instances of moral eminence so multiplied as to prove that the want of talent observed in them is merely the effect of their degraded condition, and not proceeding from any difference in the structure of the parts on which intellect depends.