Benjamin Banneker overcame so much in his life. He was a free African American man, the son of a free woman and his father, a former slave. He didn’t have much of a formal education, yet he still went on to achieve some really amazing things! Let’s learn more about this famous African American scientist with these free printables and resources about Benjamin Banneker.
Benjamin Banneker was an African-American scientist, mathematician and astronomer. He grew up as a farmer with very little education. His grandmother taught him how to read, and he attended a Quaker school for a short time. He was mainly self taught through reading and math.
Benjamin Banneker spent many hours on his farm staring up at the night sky. He became so fascinated by it that he eventually learned to predict lunar and solar eclipses. This all came from what he had learned from his readings and mathematical equations that he formulated on his own!
He was born and raised in Maryland, learn about the place of his birth with this FREE Maryland State History Printable.
This genius man came out of a very difficult life and went on to create some great things that we still use today. He was also a strong advocate for human rights and opposing slavery. He even corresponded with Thomas Jefferson regarding absolving slave holding and black rights.
Inventions and discoveries:
- Farmer’s Almanac – he created six Farmer’s Almanacs that predicted the weather, tides, eclipses, seasonal changes, tips on planting crops and home medicine remedies. He also tracked cicadas for over 17 years. His knowledge from growing up on a farm helped him to get started on these almanacs that were very popular and well received when they were published.
- Agriculture – He helped to pioneer crop rotation in farming. His knowledge in farming helped him to grow wheat during the Revolutionary War in barren lands. This crop helped to feed the American soldiers during war.
- Contributed to the anti-slavery movement – he sent a copy of his almanacs to President Thomas Jefferson with a 12 page letter attached. This letter expressed that black people had an equal intellectual ability as white people and that they should have equal rights and opportunities. They corresponded back and forth for two years on the matter.
- Striking Clock – He created the very first wooden clock in America. It was modeled after a pocket watch that was given to him to explore and take apart. This clock striked and chimed on the hour every hour. It kept perfect time for over 20 years.
- Surveyor – his mathematical genius helped him to be able to survey large portions of land and memorize the plans and equations. He was on the survey team that planned the layout for Washington D.C. .
- Solar Eclipse Forecaster – His expertise in astronomy and observing the night sky gave him the ability to predict the solar eclipse of a 1789 ahead of the actual event.
FREE Printables and Resources About Benjamin Banneker:
Friends of Benjamin Banneker is a website that is ran by the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. You can learn about the history of Banneker, view a timeline of his life, and his inventions and accomplishments.
These are some great books to learn more about Benjamin Banneker, his life and accomplishments:
Dear Benjamin Banneker
What Are You Figuring Now?: A Story about Benjamin Banneker
Tick Tock Banneker’s Clock
Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist
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