|Born||November 9, 1731
Baltimore County, Province of Maryland, British America
|Died||October 9, 1806 (aged 74)
Baltimore County, Maryland, U.S.
|Other names||Benjamin Bannaker|
|Occupation||almanac author, surveyor, farmer|
Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States.
Banneker's knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery and racial equality. Abolitionists and advocates of racial equality promoted and praised his works.
Although a fire on the day of Banneker's funeral destroyed many of his papers and belongings, one of his journals and several of his remaining artifacts are presently available for public viewing. Parks, schools, streets and other tributes have commemorated Banneker throughout the years since he lived. However, many accounts of his life exaggerate or falsely attribute his works.
Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Baltimore County, Maryland to his mother Mary, a free black, and his father Robert, a freed slave from Guinea. There are two conflicting accounts of Banneker's family history. Banneker himself and his earliest biographers described him as having only African ancestry. None of Banneker's surviving papers describe a white ancestor or identify the name of his grandmother. However, later biographers have contended that Banneker's mother was the child of Molly Welsh, a white indentured servant, and an African slave named Banneka. The first published description of Molly Welsh was based on interviews with her descendants that took place in 1836, long after the deaths of both Molly and Benjamin.
Molly may have purchased Banneka to help establish a farm located near what eventually became Ellicott's Mills, Maryland, west of Baltimore. One biographer has suggested that Banneka may have been a member of the Dogon tribe that were reported to have knowledge of astronomy. Molly supposedly freed and married Banneka, who may have shared his knowledge of astronomy with her. Although born after Banneka's death, Benjamin may have acquired some knowledge of astronomy from Molly.
In 1737, Banneker was named at the age of 6 on the deed of his family's 100-acre (0.40 km2) farm in the Patapsco Valley in rural Baltimore County. He lived on the farm for nearly all of his life.
As a young teenager, Banneker met and befriended Peter Heinrichs, a Quaker who established a school near the Banneker farm. Quakers were leaders in the anti-slavery movement and advocates of racial equality (see Quakers in the Abolition Movement and Testimony of equality). Heinrichs shared his personal library and provided Banneker with his only classroom instruction. Banneker's formal education ended when he was old enough to help on his family's farm.
In 1753 at the age of 22, Banneker completed a wooden clock that struck on the hour. He appears to have modeled his clock from a borrowed pocket watch by carving each piece to scale. The clock continued to work until Banneker's death.
After his father died in 1759, Banneker lived with his mother and sisters. In 1772, brothers Andrew Ellicott, John Ellicott and Joseph Ellicott moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and bought land along the Patapsco Falls near Banneker's farm on which to construct a gristmill, around which the village of Ellicott's Mills (now Ellicott City) subsequently developed. The Ellicotts were Quakers and shared the same views on racial equality as did many of their faith. Banneker supplied their workers with food and studied the mills.
In 1788, George Ellicott, the son of Andrew Ellicott, loaned Banneker books and equipment to begin a more formal study of astronomy. During the following year, Banneker sent George his work calculating a solar eclipse.
In February 1791, surveyor Major Andrew Ellicott (the son of Joseph Ellicott and cousin of George Ellicott), having left at the request of U.S. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson a surveying team in western New York that he had been leading, hired Banneker as a replacement to assist in the initial survey of the boundaries of a new federal district. Formed from land along the Potomac River that the states of Maryland and Virginia ceded to the federal government of the United States in accordance with the 1790 federal Residence Act and later legislation, the territory that became the original District of Columbia was a square measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2) (see: Founding of Washington, D.C.). Ellicott's team placed boundary stones at or near every mile point along the borders of the new capital territory (see: Boundary Markers of the Original District of Columbia).
Banneker's duties on the survey consisted primarily of making astronomical observations at Jones Point in Alexandria, Virginia, to ascertain the location of the starting point for the survey. He also maintained a clock that he used to relate points on the ground to the positions of stars at specific times. However, Banneker left the boundary survey in April 1791 within three months of its initiation due to illness and difficulties completing the survey at age 59. He returned to his home at Ellicott's Mills to work on an ephemeris. Major Andrew Ellicott completed the boundary survey with the assistance of his brothers Benjamin and Joseph Ellicott and others on his team in 1792.
At Ellicott's Mills, Banneker made astronomical calculations that predicted solar and lunar eclipses for inclusion in his ephemeris. He placed the ephemeris and its subsequent revisions in a number of editions in a six-year series of almanacs which were printed and sold in six cities in four states for the years 1792 through 1797: Baltimore; Philadelphia; Wilmington, Delaware; Alexandria, Virginia; Petersburg, Virginia; and Richmond, Virginia.
The title page of an edition of Banneker's 1792 Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris stated that the publication contained:
the Motions of the Sun and Moon, the True Places and Aspects of the Planets, the Rising and Setting of the Sun, Place and Age of the Moon, &c.—The Lunations, Conjunctions, Eclipses, Judgment of the Weather, Festivals, and other remarkable Days; Days for holding the Supreme and Circuit Courts of the United States, as also the useful Courts in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Also—several useful Tables, and valuable Receipts.—Various Selections from the Commonplace–Book of the Kentucky Philosopher, an American Sage; with interesting and entertaining Essays, in Prose and Verse—the whole comprising a greater, more pleasing, and useful Variety than any Work of the Kind and Price in North America.
In addition to the information that its title page described, the almanac contained a tide table for the Chesapeake Bay region. That edition and others listed times for high water or high tide at Cape Charles and Point Lookout, Virginia and Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland.
In his 1793 almanac, Banneker included letters sent between Thomas Jefferson and himself. The title page of a Baltimore edition of his 1795 almanac had a woodcut portrait of him as he may have appeared, but which a writer later concluded was more likely a portrayal of an idealized African American youth.
The almanacs' editors prefaced the publications with adulatory references to Banneker and his race. The 1792 and 1793 almanacs contained lengthy commendations that James McHenry, a signer of the United States Constitution and self-described friend of Banneker, had written in 1791. A 1796 edition stated:
Supported by Andrew, George and Elias Ellicott and heavily promoted by the Society for the Promotion of the Abolition of Slavery of Maryland and of Pennsylvania, the early editions of the almanacs achieved commercial success. After these editions were published, William Wilberforce, William Pitt and other prominent abolitionists praised Banneker and his works in the British House of Commons.
Banneker kept a series of journals that contained his notebooks for astronomical observations, his diary and accounts of his dreams. The journals, only one of which escaped a fire on the day of his funeral, additionally contained a number of mathematical calculations and puzzles. The surviving journal documents the 1749, 1766 and 1783 emergences of Brood X of the seventeen-year periodical cicada, Magicicada septendecim, and predicts an emergence in 1800. The journal also records Banneker's observations on the hives and behavior of honey bees.
Banneker expressed his views on slavery and racial equality in a letter to Thomas Jefferson and in other documents that he placed within his 1793 almanac. The almanac contained copies of his correspondence with Jefferson, poetry by the African American poet Phillis Wheatley and by the English anti-slavery poet William Cowper, and anti-slavery speeches and essays from England and America.
Banneker's 1793 almanac also contained a copy of "A Plan of Peace-office for the United States" that Benjamin Rush had authored. The Plan proposed the appointment of a "Secretary of Peace", described the Secretary's powers and advocated federal support and promotion of the Christian religion. The Plan stated:
- 1. Let a Secretary of Peace be appointed to preside in this office; ...; let him be a genuine republican and a sincere Christian ....
- 2. Let a power be given to the Secretary to establish and maintain free schools in every city, village and township in the United States; ... Let the youth of our country be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and in the doctrines of a religion of some kind; the Christian religion should be preferred to all others; for it belongs to this religion exclusively to teach us not only to cultivate peace with all men, but to forgive—nay more, to love our very enemies....
- 3. Let every family be furnished at public expense, by the Secretary of this office, with an American edition of the Bible....
- 4. Let the following sentence be inscribed in letters of gold over the door of every home in the United States: The Son of Man Came into the World, Not To Destroy Men's Lives, But To Save Them.
Correspondence with Thomas Jefferson
On August 19, 1791, after departing the federal capital area, Banneker wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, who in 1776 had drafted the United States Declaration of Independence and in 1791 was serving as the United States Secretary of State (see: List of Secretaries of State of the United States). Quoting language in the Declaration, the letter expressed a plea for justice for African Americans.
To further support this plea, Banneker included within the letter a handwritten manuscript of an almanac for 1792 containing his ephemeris with his astronomical calculations. He subsequently placed copies of the letter and Jefferson's reply in his journal, in a 1792 pamphlet printed and sold in Philadelphia and in his 1793 almanac.
In the letter, Banneker accused Jefferson of criminally using fraud and violence to oppress his slaves by stating:
... Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that altho you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of those rights and privileges which he had 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 your Selves.
The letter ended:
If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.
Thomas Jefferson's own actions and statements on slavery and on the treatment of slaves were ambiguous and paradoxical (see: Thomas Jefferson and slavery). He reportedly instructed overseers at his home at Monticello to not whip his slaves, but the overseers often ignored his wishes during his frequent absences. A researcher has found no reliable document that portrays Jefferson in the act of applying physical correction.
Without directly responding to Banneker's accusation, Jefferson replied to Banneker's letter in a series of nuanced statements that expressed his interest in the advancement of the equality of America's black population. Jefferson's reply stated:
Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.
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.
Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet, to whom Jefferson sent Banneker's almanac, was a noted French mathematician and abolitionist. It appears that the Academy of Sciences itself did not receive the almanac.
When writing his letter, Banneker informed Jefferson that his 1791 work with Andrew Ellicott on the District boundary survey had affected his work on his 1792 ephemeris and almanac by stating:
.... And altho I had almost declined to make my calculation for the ensuing year, in consequence of that time which I had allotted therefor being taking up at the Federal Territory by the request of Mr. Andrew Ellicott, ....
On the same day that he replied to Banneker (August 30, 1791), 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:
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 procured 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 me in his own hand writing, & which I inclose to you. I have seen very elegant solutions of Geometrical problems by him. Add to this that he is a very worthy & 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 talents 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.
In 1809, three years after Banneker's death, Jefferson expressed a different opinion of Banneker in a letter to Joel Barlow that criticized a "diatribe" that a French abolitionist, Henri Grégoire, had written in 1808:
The whole do not amount, in point of evidence, to what we know ourselves of Banneker. We know he had spherical trigonometry enough to make almanacs, but not without the suspicion of aid from Ellicot, who was his neighbor and friend, and never missed an opportunity of puffing him. I have a long letter from Banneker, which shows him to have had a mind of very common stature indeed.
Banneker never married. Because of declining sales, his last almanac was published in 1797. After selling much of his farm to the Ellicotts and others, he died in his log cabin nine years later on October 9, 1806, exactly one month before his 75th birthday. His chronic alcoholism, which worsened as he aged, may have contributed to his death.
An obituary concluded:
Mr. Banneker is a prominent instance to prove that a descendant of Africa is susceptible of as great mental improvement and deep knowledge into the mysteries of nature as that of any other nation.
A commemorative obelisk that the Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the State Commission on Afro American History and Culture erected in 1977 near his unmarked grave stands in the yard of the Mt. Gilboa African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oella, Maryland (see Mount Gilboa Chapel).
On the day of his funeral in 1806, a fire burned Banneker's log cabin to the ground, destroying many of his belongings and papers. A member of the Elllicott family, which had retained Banneker's only remaining journal, donated the document and other Banneker manuscripts to the Maryland Historical Society in 1987. The family also retained several items that Banneker had used after borrowing them from George Ellicott.
In 1996, a descendant of George Ellicott decided to sell at auction some of the items, including a table, candlesticks and molds. Although supporters of the planned Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum in Oella, Maryland, had hoped to obtain these and several other items related to Banneker and the Ellicotts, a Virginia investment banker won most of the items with a series of bids that totaled $49,750. The purchaser stated that he expected to keep some of the items and to donate the rest to the planned African American Civil War Memorial museum in Washington, D.C.
In 1997, it was announced that the artifacts would be loaned to the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum in Oella and to the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. After receiving the artifacts, the Oella museum placed the table and the candle molds into an exhibit.
Mythology and legacy
A substantial mythology exaggerating Benjamin Banneker's accomplishments has developed during the two centuries that have elapsed since his death (see Mythology of Benjamin Banneker). Several such urban legends describe Banneker's alleged activities in the Washington, D.C. area around the time that he assisted Andrew Ellicott in the federal district boundary survey. Others involve his clock, his almanacs and his journals.
A United States postage stamp and the names of a number of recreational and cultural facilities, schools, streets and other facilities and institutions throughout the United States have commemorated Banneker's documented and mythical accomplishments throughout the years since he lived (see Commemorations of Benjamin Banneker).
- Bedini, 2008
- ""Robert Bannaky" marker", HMdb: The Historical Marker Database, retrieved 2015-09-06
- (1) Banneker, 1791, p. 6: "Sir, I freely and cheerfully acknowledge, that I am of the African race, and in that color which is natural to them of the deepest dye; ...."
(2) McHenry, James (April 20, 1791): "Benjamin Banneker, a free black, is about fifty nine years in age; he was born in Baltimore county; his father was an African, and his mother, the offspring of African parents." In Letter from James McHenry regarding Benjamin Banneker (Baltimore: April 20, 1791) in Phillips, p. 115.
(3) Latrobe, John H. B., Esq. (1845): "His father was a native African, and his mother the child of natives of Africa; so that to no admixture of the blood of the white man was he indebted for his peculiar and extraordinary abilities." In Latrobe, p. 6.
- Perot, Sandra W. (2008). "Reconstructing Molly Welsh: Race, Memory and the Story of Benjamin Banneker's Grandmother. Masters Theses. Paper 2 (Introduction and abstract)". ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst. pp. 5, 19–21, 33–36, 67. Archived from the original on 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2015-11-15. Full text (PDF)
- Russell, George Ely (December 2006). "Molly Welsh: Alleged Grandmother of Benjamin Banneker". National Genealogical Society Quarterly. National Genealogical Society. 94 (4): 305–314. ISSN 0027-934X. LCCN 17012813. OCLC 50612104.
- (1) Tyson, p. 4
(2) Johnson. "For some years, Benjamin seems to have served as an indentured laborer on the Prince George’s County plantation of Mary Welsh, who had dealings with the Bannaky family and in 1773 executed her dead husband’s instructions to release several of her labor force including “Negro Ben, born free age 43.” Walsh was surely not Banneker’s grandmother, as argued by many biographers, but she did leave him a substantial legacy. He then lived alone as a tobacco farmer near the Patapsco River."
- Tyson, p. 3
- Cerami, pp. 7, 15
- Hurry, Robert J. (2007). Hockey, Thomas, ed. Banneker, Benjamin. Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York: Springer. pp. 91–92. ISBN 9780387310220. OCLC 65764986. Retrieved 2015-01-24. At Google Books.
- (1) Glawe
This indenture made this tenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred thirty seven between Richard Gist of Baltimore County in the province of Maryland grant of the one part, Robert Bannaky and Benjamin Bannaky this now of the County and province aforementioned of the other part, Witnesseth that the deed Richard Gist for and in consideration of the sum of seven thousand pounds of tobacco whence paid to the said Richard Gist the receipt whereof he do able by these presents acquits and discharges them the said Robert Bannaky and Benjamin Bannaky his son thereon heirs and assign for over one hundred acres of land lying in the said county circumscribed by the bounds hereafter by profit being the moiety of a hundred acres of land.
J. Wells Stokes"
(2) Facsimile of handwritten deed conveying property from Richard Gist to Robert Bannaky and Benjamin Bannaky. In Clark, James W., Maryland Commission on Afro-American and Indian History and Culture, Annapolis, Maryland (1976-06-14). "Benjamin Banneker Homesite" (PDF). Maryland State Historical Trust: Inventory Form for State Historic Sites Survey. Annapolis, Maryland: Maryland State Archives. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
- Cerami, pp. 24-26
- "Quakers & Slavery". Triptych: Tri-College Digital Library. Bryn Mawr College. Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
- Latrobe, p. 7.
- Bedini, 1999, p. 42.
- (1) Tyson, pp. 5, 9-10, 14, 18.
(2) Bedini, 1964, p. 22.
- Tyson, pp. 4-5
- Williams, p. 387.
- "Historic Ellicott City's History". ellicottcity.net. Ellicott City, Maryland: Ellicott City Graphic Arts. Archived from the original on 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
- Tyson, Martha Ellicott (1871). A Brief Account of the Settlement of Ellicott's Mills, with Fragments of History therewith Connected: Written at the request of Evan T. Ellicott, Baltimore, 1865: Read before the Maryland Historical Society, Nov. 3, 1870. Maryland Historical Society: Fund-Publication, No. 4. Baltimore: Printed by J. Murphy: Printer to the Maryland Historical Society. pp. 3–4. OCLC 2311761. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
- Bedini, 1999, pp. 185–190
- Banneker Time Line
- Bedini, 1970, p. 8.
- Williams, p. 389.
- (1) Bedini, 1999, p. 113.
(2) "Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia". boundarystones.org. Archived from the original on 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
(3) Crew, pp. 87–103
- National Capital Planning Commission (1976). History. Boundary markers of the Nation's Capital: a proposal for their preservation & protection: a National Capital Planning Commission Bicentennial report. Washington, D.C.: National Capital Planning Commission; For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office. pp. 3–9. OCLC 3772302. Retrieved 2016-02-22. At HathiTrust Digital Library.
- Langelan, Chas (2012-08-24). "Andrew Ellicott and his Survey of the Federal Territory on the Potomac, 1791-1793". Philip Lee Philips Society Annual Conference: Visualizing The Nation's Capital: Two Centuries of Mapping Washington, D.C., Session 2 (moderator: Bill Stanley). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
- "Text of Residence Act". American Memory. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- Bedini, 1999, pp. 118–121
- Bedini, 1999, p. 136.
- Bedini, 1999, pp. 132–136
- Banneker, Benjamin (1791). Title Page. Benjamin Banneker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and EPHEMERIS, for the YEAR of our LORD, 1792; Being BISEXTILE, or LEAP-YEAR, and the Sixteenth Year of AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, which commmenced July 4, 1776. Baltimore: Printed and sold, Wholesale and Retail, by William Goddard and James Angell, at their printing-office, in Market-Street.-- Sold, also, by Mr. Joseph Crukshank, Printer, in Market-Street, and Mr. Daniel Humphreys, Printer, in South-Front-Street, Philadelphia--and by Messrs. Hanson and Bond, Printers, in Alexandria. OCLC 62824558. Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2014-08-28. Image in "American Memory". Library of Congress.
- "Benjamin Banneker's 1793 Almanack and Ephemeris: Transcribed and Reviewed by Digital Volunteers: Extracted Apr-10-2016" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Transcription Center, National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- "Benjamin Banneker's Almanac, 1795". Africans in America. PBS. Archived from the original on 2001-12-06. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
- (1) Banneker, Benjamin (1792). Benjamin Banneker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord, 1793. Baltimore: Printed and sold, wholesale and retail, by William Goddard and James Angell, at their printing-office, in Market-Street. OCLC 62824560.
(2) Banneker, Benjamin (1792). Banneker's almanack, and ephemeris for the year of our Lord 1793. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Joseph Crukshank, No. 87, High-Street. OCLC 62824553.
(3) Banneker, Bejamin (1793). Banneker's almanack, and ephemeris for the year of our Lord 1794. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Joseph Crukshank, No. 87, High-Street. OCLC 62824554.
(4) Banneker, Benjamin (1793). Benjamin Banneker's almanac, for the year of our Lord, 1794. Philadelphia: Printed by William Young, No. 52, Second-street, the corner of Chesnut-street. OCLC 226246930.
(5) Banneker, Benjamin (1793). Benjamin Banneker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord, 1794. Baltimore: Printed and sold, wholesale and retail, by James Angell, at his printing-office, in Market-Street. OCLC 62824561.
(6) Banneker, Benjamin (1793). The Virginia almanack, for the year of our Lord, 1794. Petersburg Va.: Printed by William Prentis. OCLC 62840340.
(7) Banneker, Benjamin (1794). Bannaker's Wilmington almanac, or ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1795 ... Wilmington Del.: Printed by S. & J. Adams, for Frederick Craig. OCLC 62824551.
(8) Bannaker, Benjamin (1794). Title Page. Bannaker's New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanac or Ephemeris For the Year of our LORD 1795; Being the Third after Leap-Year; — the Nineteenth Year of American Independence, and the Seventh of our Federal Government. Wilmington, Delaware: Printed by S.& J. Adams. OCLC 62824555. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2014-08-28. In "Thomas Jefferson Exhibition". Library of Congress. 2010-07-27. Archived from the original on 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
(9) Bannaker, Benjamin (1794). Title Page. Benjamin Bannaker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia ALMANAC for the YEAR of our LORD 1795; Being the Third after Leap-Year. Baltimore: Printed for And Sold by John Fisher, Stationer. OCLC 62824557. Archived from the original on 2001-12-11. Retrieved 2015-01-23. In "Benjamin Banneker's Almanac, 1795". Africans in America. PBS. Archived from the original on 2001-12-06. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
(10) Banneker, Benjamin (1794). Benjamin Bannaker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia almanac, for the year of our Lord 1795. Philadelphia: Printed for William Gibbons, Cherry Street. OCLC 62824556.
(11) Bannaker, Benjamin (1794). Title Page. Bannaker's New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanac, or Ephemeris, for the Year of our LORD 1795; Being the Third after Leap-Year. Baltimore, Maryland: Printed by S. & J. Adams. OCLC 62824547. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2014-08-24. In website of the Library Company of Philadelphia.
(12) Banneker, Benjamin (1794). Banneker's almanac, for the year 1795: Containing, (besides every thing necessary in an almanac,) an account of the yellow fever, lately prevalent in Philadelphia, with the number of those who died, from the first of August till the ninth of November, 1793. Philadelphia: Printed for William Young, bookseller, no. 52, the corner of Chesnut and Second-Streets. OCLC 62824552.
(13) Banneker, Benjamin (1795). Bannaker's Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1796. Baltimore: Printed for Philip Edwards, James Keddie, and Thomas, Andrews and Butler; and sold at their respective stores, wholesale and retail. OCLC 62824546.
(14) Banneker, Benjamin (1796). Bannaker's Maryland and Virginia almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1797. Baltimore: Printed by Christopher Jackson, for George Keatinge's wholesale and retail book store, no. 140 Market-Street. OCLC 62824545.
(15) Banneker, Benjamin (1796). Bannaker's Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1797. Baltimore: Printed by Christopher Jackson, no. 67, Market-Street, for George Keatinge's book-store. Copy right secured. OCLC 62824549.
(16) Banneker, Benjamin (1796). Bannaker's Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1797. Richmond: Printed by Samuel Pleasants, Jun. near the vendue office. By privilege. OCLC 62824550.
(17) Banneker, Benjamin (1796). Bannaker's Virginia and North Carolina almanack and ephemeris, for the year of our Lord 1797. Petersburg VA: Printed by William Prentis and William Y. i.e., T. Murray. OCLC 62824548.
- Note: Obsolete alphabetization in the original title page was translated in this quotation to alphabetization that was in common use in 2009.
- Woodcut portrait of Benjamin Bannaker (Banneker) in Bannaker, Benjamin (1794). Title Page. Benjamin Bannaker's Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia ALMANAC for the YEAR of our LORD 1795; Being the Third after Leap-Year. Baltimore: Printed for And Sold by John Fisher, Stationer. OCLC 62824557. Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2015-01-23. In "Benjamin Banneker's Almanac, 1795". Africans in America. PBS. 1995–2010. Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
- Bedini, 1999, p. 297
- Latrobe, p. 9: "In their editorial notice, Messrs. Goddard and Angell say, "they feel gratified in the opportunity of presenting to the public, through their press, what must be considered as an extraordinary effort of genius — a complete and accurate Ephemeris for the year 1792, calculated by a sable descendant of Africa," &c. And they further say, that "they flatter themselves that a philanthropic public, in this enlightened era, will be induced to give their patronage and support to this work, not only on account of its intrinsic merits, (it having met the approbation of several of the most distinguished astronomers of America, particularly the celebrated Mr. Rittenhouse,) but from similar motives to those which induced the editors to give this calculation the preference, the ardent desire of drawing modest merit from obscurity and controverting the long established illiberal prejudice against the blacks."
- United States Army Center of Military History. "James McHenry, Maryland" (PDF). Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution: A Bicentennial Series. National Park Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- (1) Letter from James McHenry regarding Benjamin Banneker (Baltimore: April 20, 1791) in Phillips, pp. 115-116.
(2) McHenry, James (Baltimore: August 10, 1791) in Allaben, Frank. Original Document: Banneker's Appeal to Jefferson for Emancipation. The National Magazine: A Journal Devoted To American History: Vol. XVII, November, 1892 — April, 1893. New York: The National History Company. pp. 70, 72. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
...... I consider this Negro as a fresh proof that the powers of the mind are disconnected with the colour of the skin, or, in other words, a striking contradiction to Mr Hume's doctrine, that the Negroes are naturally inferior to whites, and unsusceptible of attainments in the arts and sciences. In every civilized country, we shall find thousands of whites, liberally educated, and who have enjoyed greater opportunities for instruction than this Negro, his inferiors in those intellectual acquirements and capacities that form the most characteristic features in the human race. But the system that would assign to these degraded blacks an origin different from the whites, if it is not ready to be deserted by philosophers, must be relinquished as similar instances multiply; and that such must frequently happen cannot well be doubted, should no check impede the progress of humanity, which, meliorating the condition of slavery, necessarily leads to its final extinction.—Let, however, the issue be what it will, I cannot but wish, on this occasion, to see the Public patronage keep pace with my black friend's merit.At Google Books.
(3) McHenry, James C. (Baltimore: August 20, 1791). "A letter from Mr. James McHenry, to messrs. Goddard and Angel,containing particulars respecting Benjamin Banneker, a free negro". The American Museum, or Universal Magazine (September 1792). Philadelphia: Mathew Carey: 185–187. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
(4) "Benjamin Banneker's 1793 Almanack and Ephemeris: Transcribed and Reviewed by Digital Volunteers: Extracted Apr-10-2016" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Transcription Center, National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
Baltimore, August 20, 1791. BENJAMIN BANNEKER, a free black, is about fifty-nine years of age; he was born in Baltimore county; his father was an African, and his mother the offspring of African parents. — His father and mother having obtained their freedom, were enabled to send him to an obscure school, where he learned, when a boy, reading, writing, and arithmetic as far as double position; and to leave him, at their deaths, a few acres of land, upon which he has supported himself ever since by means of economy and constant labour, and preserved a fair reputation. To struggle incessantly against want is no ways favourable to improvement: what he had learned, however, he did not forget; for as some hours of leisure will occur in the most toilsome life, he availed himself of these, not to read and acquire knowledge from writings of genius and discovery, for of such he had none, but to digest and apply, as occasions presented, the few principles of the few rules of arithmetic he had been taught at school. This kind of mental exercise formed his chief amusement, and soon gave him a facility in calculation that was often serviceable to his neighbours, and at length attracted the attention of the Messrs. Ellicott, a family remarkable for their ingenuity and turn to the useful mechanics. It is about three years since Mr. George Ellicott lent him Mayer's Tables, Ferguson's Astronomy, Leadbeater's Lunar Tables, and some astronomic instruments, but without accompanying them with either hint or instruction, that might further his studies, or lead him to apply them to any useful result. These books and instruments, the first of the kind he had ever seen, opened a new world to Benjamin, and from thenceforward he employed his leisure in astronomical researches. He now took up the idea of the calculations for an Almanack, and actually completed an entire set for the last year, upon his original stock of arithmetic. Encouraged by this first attempt, he entered upon his calculation for 1792, which, as well as the former, he began and finished without the least information of assistance from any person, or other books than those I have mentioned; so that whatever merit is attached to his present performance, is exclusively and peculiarly his own. I have been the more careful to investigate those particulars, and to ascertain their reality, as they form an interesting fact in the History of Man; and as you may want them to gratify curiosity, I have no objection to your selecting them for your account of Benjamin.
- Bedini, 1999, p. 339
- Maryland Historical Society Library Department (2014-02-06), "The Dreams of Benjamin Banneker", Underbelly, Maryland Historical Society, archived from the original on 2015-07-07, retrieved 2015-03-09
- (1) Bedini, 1999, pp. 340–343.
(2) Tyson, pp. 17-18
(3) Williams, p. 398
(4) Fasanelli, Florence; Jagger, Graham; Lumpkin, Bea (June 2010). "Benjamin Banneker's Trigonometry Puzzle". Loci. Mathematical Association of America. 2. Archived from the original on 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
(5) Mahoney, John F. (July 2010). "Benjamin Banneker's Inscribed Equilateral Triangle". Loci. Mathematical Association of America. 2. Archived from the original on 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
(6) Mahoney, John F. (2014). "The Mathematical Puzzles of Benjamin Banneker". AP Central. College Board. Archived from the original on 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- (1) Latrobe, pp. 11-12.
(2) Bedini, 1999, p. 264.
(3) Barber, Janet E.; Nkwanta, Asamoah (2014). "Benjamin Banneker's Original Handwritten Document: Observations and Study of the Cicada". Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. 4 (1): 112–114. doi:10.5642/jhummath.201401.07. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
- Latrobe, p. 12.
- (1) Phillips, p. 116-119
(2) "Benjamin Banneker Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
(3) Rush, Benjamin, M.D. (1806). A plan of a Peace-Office for the United States. Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical. (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford. pp. 183–188. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
(4) Bedini, 1999, p.190
- (1) Phillips, pp. 116-117
(2) Bedini, 1999, pp. 335–337
- Allaben, Frank. Original Document: Banneker's Appeal to Jefferson for Emancipation. The National Magazine: A Journal Devoted To American History: Vol. XVII, November, 1892 — April, 1893. New York: The National History Company. pp. 65–69. Retrieved 2016-02-28. At Google Books.
- Banneker, 1791
- Bedini, 1999, p. 163
- Biography of Thomas Jefferson in official website of the White House. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- ""To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August 1791" (with editorial notes)". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2016-12-06. (Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol 22, 6 August 1791 - 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 49–54.). 1791-08-19. Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
- Banneker, 1791, p. 8
- Banneker, 1791, p. 10
- (1) Day, Thomas. Fragment of an original letter on the Slavery of the Negroes, written in the year 1776. London: Printed for John Stockdale (1784). Boston: Re-printed by Garrison and Knapp, at the office of "The Liberator" (1831). p. 10. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.At: Internet Archive: The Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries: James Birney Collection of Antislavery Pamphlets.
(2) Armitage, David (2007). The Declaration Of Independence: A Global History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-674-02282-9. At Google Books.
- (1) National Museum of African American History and Culture in Partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello - Paradox of Liberty: Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, January 27-October 14, 2012". Charlottesville, Virginia: monticello.org. Archived from the original on 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
(2) "Editorial note re. "To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August 1791"". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2016-12-06. (Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol 22, 6 August 1791 - 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 49–54.). Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
In a widely read discussion that set the terms of debate on this issue in America for decades to come, TJ oscillated between ascribing black intellectual inferiority to the workings of nature and attributing it to the impact of slavery. Though at times he virtually suggested that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites by nature, in the end he left it to science to determine whether nature or environment was responsible for what he perceived to be a distressing absence of intellectual accomplishment among blacks, especially in the arts and sciences. “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only,” he concluded, “that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind” (Notes, ed. Peden, p. 137–43; Jordan, White over Black, p. 429–39). Benjamin Banneker was the first and only black man to challenge TJ’s suspicion directly during his lifetime.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture in Partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. "Life at the Monticello Plantation: Treatment". Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello - Paradox of Liberty: Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, January 27-October 14, 2012. Charlottesville, Virginia: monticello.org. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
Stating that it was his "first wish" that his slaves be "well treated," Jefferson struggled to balance humane treatment with a need for profit. He tried to minimize the then-common use of harsh physical punishment and used financial incentives rather than force to encourage his artisans. He instructed his overseers not to whip his slaves, but his wishes were often ignored during his frequent absences from home.
- Stanton, Lucia (1993). ""Those who labor for my happiness": Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves". In Onuf, Peter S. Jeffersonian Legacies. The University Press of Virginia. p. 158. ISBN 0-8139-1462-0.
- (1) "A Great Man, but Flawed". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, Washington, D.C. 1992-10-31. p. A.21. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
... Wefald writes that when Jefferson received a letter and almanac from Benjamin Banneker, Jefferson was "honest enough to change his position." Jefferson did not say that he had changed his opinion of the intellectual abilities of blacks. In his letter to Banneker, Aug. 30, 1791, Jefferson merely said: "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 colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa & America." Closely read, Jefferson's letter is only an indication that he "wishes to see such proofs," but there is no definite indication that he changed his mind. On Banneker's abilities Jefferson was ambivalent.
(2) Johnson, Richard. "Banneker, Benjamin (1731-1806)". Scientists. BlackPast.org. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
Banneker sent a manuscript copy of his work to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson along with a plea against the continuance of black slavery and received a courteous, if evasive, reply.
- (1) Jefferson, Thomas (1791-08-30). "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Mr. Benjamin Banneker". Image of letter in American Memory. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
(2) Jefferson, Thomas (1791-08-30). "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Mr. Benjamin Banneker". Transcript of letter (July 22, 2010) in Thomas Jefferson Exhibition (July 27, 2010). Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
(3) ""From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker, 30 August 1791" (with editorial notes)". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2015-06-29. (Source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 22, 6 August 1791 – 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 97-98.). 1791-08-30. Archived from the original on 2015-07-02. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
- (1) Acton, Harry Burrows (2016). "Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2016-01-02. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
(2) Hart, David M. (2014-04-10). "Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794)". Online Library of Liberty. Liberty Fund, Inc. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
- Bedini, 1999, pp. 163, 168
- Banneker, 1791, p. 9, p. 10
- (1) Jefferson, Thomas (1791-08-30). "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Marquis de Condorcet". p. 1. Archived from the original on 2015-06-07. Image of letter in "American Treasures of the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
(2) Jefferson, Thomas (1791-08-30). "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Marquis de Condorcet". p. 2. Archived from the original on 2015-06-07. Image of letter in "American Treasures of the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
(3) "Transcript of letter from Thomas Jefferson to Marquis de Condorcet, August 30, 1791, from the Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes. Federal Edition. Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford". The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at the Library of Congress Selected and converted: American Memory. Library of Congress. 1999. Archived from the original on 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
(4) ""From Thomas Jefferson to Condorcet, 30 August 1791" (with editorial notes)". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2016-12-06. (Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 22, 6 August 1791 – 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 98–99.). 1791-08-30. Archived from the original on 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
- (1) Gregoire, H. (1808). Bannaker (Benjamin). De la littérature des nègres, ou Recherches sur leurs facultés intellectuelles, leurs qualités morales et leur littérature, suivies de Notices sur la vie et les ouvrages des Nègres qui se sont distingués dans les Sciences, les Lettres et les Arts (in French). Paris, France: Chez Maradan, Libraire. pp. 211–212. OCLC 14928892. At Google Books.
(2) Partial English translation: Gregoire, H. (1810). Bannaker. An enquiry concerning the intellectual and moral faculties, and literature of negroes; followed with an account of the life and works of fifteen negroes & mulattoes, distinguished in science, literature and the arts; Translated by D.B. Warden. Brooklyn, New York: Thomas Kirk. pp. 187–180. OCLC 25657539. At Google Books.
(3) Complete English translation: Grégoire, Henri (1996). Banneker. On the Cultural Achievements of Negroes: Translated with notes and an introduction by Thomas Cassirer & Jean-François Brière. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0585142300. LCCN 95047293. OCLC 44961624.
- (1) Jefferson, Thomas (1809-10-08). Washington, H.A. (1853), ed. Correspondence: To Mr Barlow. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson; being his Autobiography, Correspondence, Reports, Messages, Addresses, and Other Writings, Official and Private. Published by the order of the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library, from the original manuscripts, deposited in the Department of State. 5. Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Maury. pp. 475–476. LCCN 06007150. OCLC 924409. At Google Books.
(2) ""Thomas Jefferson to Joel Barlow" (with editorial notes)". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2016-12-06. (Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series, vol. 1, 4 March 1809 to 15 November 1809, ed. J. Jefferson Looney. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004, pp. 588–590.). 1809-10-08. Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
- "Obituary of Benjamin Banneker". Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser. 1806-10-28. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2016-03-29. From Maryland Historical Society Library Department (2014-02-06). "The Dreams of Benjamin Banneker". Underbelly. Maryland Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
- (1) Tyson, p. 10 and p. 12
(2) Bedini,1999, pp. 253–254
- (1) "Benjamin Banneker" marker in website of hmdb.org: The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
(2) "Benjamin Banneker". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
(3) Coordinates of Benjamim Banneker obelisk:
- Respers, Lisa (1996-08-01). "18th-century Banneker items to be auctioned: Museum organizers hope to buy rare artifacts". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Tyson p. 18
- (1) Maryland Historical Society Library Department (2014-02-06). "The Dreams of Benjamin Banneker". Underbelly]. Maryland Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
The astronomical journal is the only remaining artifact written in Banneker’s hand, as his cabin and most of his belongings burned down in a fire as his body was being laid in the ground in 1806. On his instruction, the astronomical journal and some other loose manuscripts were removed upon his death and left to George Ellicott (1760–1832). The journal stayed in the hands of the Ellicott family until 1844 when it was deposited here at MdHS, where it was used by John H.B. Latrobe the following year. Quaker philanthropist and MdHS member Moses Sheppard (1771–1857) had the book rebound in Russian leather in 1852, and at this date most likely combined the astronomical journal with some of Banneker’s loose manuscripts as well as a day book. At some unknown date the astronomical journal left MdHS and returned to the hands of the Ellicott family. It stayed there, away from the public’s eye until 1987 when Ellicott family descendant Dorothea West Fitzhugh donated it in honor of her late husband Robert Tyson Fitzhugh. In 1999 MdHS sent the journal to the Center for Conservation in Philadelphia where it was rebound, deacidified, and given full conservation treatment.
(2) Tyson, pp. 2, 18
- Tyson, pp. 17-18
- (1) Respers, Lisa (1996-08-01). "18th-century Banneker items to be auctioned: Museum organizers hope to buy rare artifacts". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
A selection of rare items used by Benjamin Banneker, noted black American scientist, is to be auctioned early next month, but organizers of the planned Banneker museum and park in Baltimore County hope to raise money to buy the artifacts first.
The items -- which include a William and Mary drop-leaf table, candlesticks and molds, and several documents -- are scheduled to be put on the block at Sloane's Auction House in Bethesda.
Jean Walsh, a member of the Friends of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park, said the items had been in the possession of a descendant of George Ellicott, who at age 17 befriended the much older Banneker -- known as "the first black man of science."
"George was interested in astronomy, and he loaned a number of things to Banneker, including the table and several books," Walsh said. ...
Groundbreaking is planned for September for the long-awaited Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum in Oella, and Walsh and other supporters would like to exhibit the items there.
Gwen Marable, president of the organization, said an attempt had been made to persuade the owner, Elizabeth Wilde of Indianapolis, to donate or sell some of the artifacts to the museum.
"We want to spearhead an effort to keep these things here in Maryland," said Marable, a descendant of one of Banneker's three sisters.
Samuel Hopkins -- a descendant of the Ellicott family, who were mill owners and co-founders of Ellicott City -- said he encouraged Wilde to turn the artifacts over to the museum.
"I spoke to her some time ago and told her I thought it would be fine if she gave some of the stuff to the museum," Hopkins said. "I suggested to her that, if she did not give it to the society, that she might let the society make copies of the documents for display."
Patrick O'Neill, who is helping to arrange the auction for Sloane's, said the items are being appraised. Appraisal of historic pieces can be difficult, though officials expect the table to sell for $10,000 to $30,000. ....
According to Silvio A. Bedini, author of "The Life of Benjamin Banneker," the scientist instructed his nephews to return the table and books to the Ellicott family and give them some of his effects. The day of his funeral in 1806, Banneker's log cabin burned to the ground. It is on that site where the museum and park are to be built.
Bedini said the artifacts are especially valuable because they are among the few remaining privately owned Banneker items.
(2) McNatt, Glenn (1996-08-25). "Banneker items close to being auctioned". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
Elizabeth Wilde, the Ellicott family member who inherited the Banneker-related items, plans to sell more than 20 Banneker artifacts and documents next month through C. G. Sloan auction house in Bethesda. Wilde, who lives in Indianapolis, has rebuffed appeals from Banneker historians, relatives and admirers to donate the artifacts to the new Banneker museum or give the sponsoring group more time to raise money so it can buy the items itself.
(3) Respers, Lisa (1996-08-29). "$50,000 donated to Banneker museum 'Friends' hope to keep rare artifacts in Md". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
(4) "For sale: Benjamin Banneker's legacy: Artifacts on the block: Business leaders should help bring rare items home". The Baltimore Sun. 1996-09-04. Archived from the original on 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
- (1) Respers, Lisa (1996-09-09). "Coveted Banneker items going, going . . . gone: Dismayed local group outbid by Va. banker". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
Emanuel Friedman, an investment banker and chairman of Friedman, Billings and Ramsey in Rosslyn, Va., made winning bids of $32,500 for the table, $7,500 for letters, a scrapbook and personal papers from the Ellicott estate, $6,000 for the candlesticks, and $3,750 for the ledger. .... Friedman said he planned to keep some for a personal collection and donate the rest to a new African-American Civil War Foundation museum being planned in Washington, which he believed would be willing to share the artifacts with the Banneker museum.
(2) Respers, Lisa (1996-09-23). "Banneker artifacts sought on loan: Oella museum backers want to borrow items bought by D.C. banker". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- (1) Levine, Susan (1997-01-04). "A Banneker plan: Museums named for scientist to be lent artifacts". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, Washington, D.C. p. B.1. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
More than 190 years after his death, some prized possessions of renowned black scientist Benjamin Banneker soon will be coming home. The collection, which Banneker historians, relatives and admirers once feared would be dispersed forever when it was auctioned in Sep 1996, will be sent to two Maryland museums that bear his name.
(2) Respers, Lisa (1997-01-04). "Museum to display Banneker artifacts: Owner will allow objects to be shown for 20 years". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
A happy ending is in sight for the planned Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum in Oella, outbid at auction last fall for valuable artifacts once owned by the noted African-American astronomer and inventor. Next week, the Virginia-based investment banker who paid $85,000 for a table, candlesticks, documents and other items is expected to sign an agreement allowing the museum to display the artifacts for 20 years. .... Items auctioned in Bethesda in September came from a descendant of the Ellicotts, a white family that forged a strong friendship with the scientist, who died in 1806. Among them: a maple and pine drop-leaf table believed to have been lent to Banneker by the Ellicott family, two candlesticks and a candle mold, a ledger from the Ellicott & Co. general store noting purchases by Banneker, and several documents and letters pertaining to Banneker and the Ellicotts. ..... Friedman, a history buff, donated the artifacts to a Civil War monument and visitors center being built by his friend Frank Smith Jr., a Washington councilman. He said the entire collection, which includes other items of Banneker's period that did not relate to him, will be part of a Black History exhibit at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. They will then be turned over to the Banneker-Douglas Museum in Annapolis, until construction of the Oella museum is completed.
(3) "Banneker dream a reality Oella: Artifacts of the 'first black man of science' on display in new museum and park". The Baltimore Sun. 1998-07-02. Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
The artifacts donated by Mr. Friedman, including a William and Mary drop-leaf table, candlesticks and documents, will be brought to the museum next year.
- (1) Whittle, Syd. "Desk used by Benjamin Banneker (photographed 2012-05-15 in Benjamin Banneker Museum, Oella, Maryland)". "Benjamin Banneker" marker. HMdb: The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
(2) Scible, Kelly (2014-11-19). "Embracing history at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum". Westminster, Maryland: Carroll County Times. Archived from the original on 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
The museum has desk and candle molds used by Benjamin.
- (1) Maryland Historical Society Library Department (2014-02-06). "The Dreams of Benjamin Banneker". Underbelly. Maryland Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
Over the 200 years since the death of Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), his story has become a muddled combination of fact, inference, misinformation, hyperbole, and legend. Like many other figures throughout history, the small amount of surviving source material has nurtured the development of a degree of mythology surrounding his story.
(2) Cerami, p. 142., "(Banneker) has existed in dim memory mainly on mangled ideas about his work, and even utter falsehoods that are unwise attempts to glorify a man who needs no such embellishment. ........
(3) Johnson. "(Banneker's) life and work have become enshrouded in legend and anecdote."
- "Editorial Note: Locating the Federal District: Footnote 119". Founders Online: Thomas Jefferson. National Historical Publications & Records Commission: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, last modified 2016-12-06. (Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 19, 24 January–31 March 1791, ed. Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974, pp. 3–58.). Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
Recent biographical accounts of Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), a mulatto whose father was a native African and whose grandmother was English, have done his memory a disservice by obscuring his real achievements under a cloud of extravagant claims to scientific accomplishment that have no foundation in fact. The single notable exception is Silvio A. Bedini’s The Life of Benjamin Banneker (New York, 1972), a work of painstaking research and scrupulous attention to accuracy which also benefits from the author’s discovery of important and hitherto unavailable manuscript sources. However, as Bedini points out, the story of Banneker’s involvement in the survey of the Federal District “rests on extremely meager documentation” (p. 104). This consists of a single mention by TJ, two brief statements by Banneker himself, and the newspaper allusion quoted above. In consequence, Bedini’s otherwise reliable biography accepts the version of Banneker’s role in this episode as presented in reminiscences of nineteenth-century authors. These recollections, deriving in large part from members of the Ellicott family who were prompted by Quaker inclinations to justice and equality, have compounded the confusion. The nature of TJ’s connection with Banneker is treated in the Editorial Note to the group of documents under 30 Aug. 1791, but because of the obscured record it is necessary here to attempt a clarification of the role of this modest, self-taught tobacco farmer in the laying out of the national capital.
First of all, because of unwarranted claims to the contrary, it must be pointed out that there is no evidence whatever that Banneker had anything to do with the survey of the Federal City or indeed with the final establishment of the boundaries of the Federal District. All available testimony shows that he was present only during the few weeks early in 1791 when the rough preliminary survey of the ten mile square was made; that, after this was concluded and before the final survey was begun, he returned to his farm and his astronomical studies in April, accompanying Ellicott part way on his brief journey back to Philadelphia; and that thenceforth he had no connection with the mapping of the seat of government. ...
In any case, Banneker’s participation in the surveying of the Federal District was unquestionably brief and his role uncertain.
- Shipler, David K. (1998). The Myths of America. A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 196–197. ISBN 0679734546. OCLC 39849003.
The Banneker story, impressive as it was, got embellished in 1987, when the public school system in Portland, Oregon, published African-American Baseline Essays, a thick stack of loose-leaf background papers for teachers, commissioned to encourage black history instruction. They have been used in Detroit, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, and scattered schools elsewhere, although they have been attacked for gross inaccuracy in an entire literature of detailed criticism by respected historians. ....At Google Books.
- (1) Bedini, 1970, p. 7. "The name of Benjamin Banneker, the Afro-American self-taught mathematician and almanac-maker, occurs again and again in the several published accounts of the survey of Washington City begun in 1791, but with conflicting reports of the role which he played. Writers have implied a wide range of involvement, from the keeper of horses or supervisor of the woodcutters, to the full responsibility of not only the survey of the ten mile square but the design of the city as well. None of these accounts has described the contribution which Banneker actually made."
(2) Cerami, pp. 142-143.
(3) Murdock. "This very well-researched book also helps lay to rest some of the myths about what Banneker did and did not do during his most unusual lifetime; unfortunately, many websites and books continue to propagate these myths, probably because those authors do not understand what Banneker actually accomplished."
(4) Toscano. "Some writers, in an effort to build up their hero, claim that Banneker was the designer of Washington. Other writers have asserted that Banneker's role in the survey is a myth without documentation. Neither group is correct. Bedini does a professional job of sorting out the truth from the falsehoods."
(5) Fasanelli, Florence D, "Benjamin Banneker's Life and Mathematics: Web of Truth? Legends as Facts; Man vs. Legend," a talk given on January 8, 2004, at the MAA/AMS meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Cited in Mahoney, John F (July 2010). "Benjamin Banneker's Inscribed Equilateral Triangle - References". Loci. Mathematical Association of America. 2. Archived from the original on 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
(6) Bigbytes. "Benjamin Banneker Stories". dcsymbols dot com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
(7) Levine, Michael (2003-11-10). "L'Enfant designed more than D.C.: He designed a 200-year-old controversy". History: Planning Our Capital City: Get to know the District of Columbia. DCpages.com. Archived from the original on 2003-12-06. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
- Arnebeck, Bob (1991). Through a Fiery Trial: Building Washington, 1790–1800. Lanham, Maryland: Madison Books. Distributed by National Network. ISBN 0-8191-7832-2. OCLC 22006328.
- Banneker, Benjamin (1791-08-19). COPY OF A LETTER FROM BENJAMIN BANNEKER, &c. Maryland, Baltimore County. In "Copy of a letter from Benjamin Banneker to the secretary of state, with his answer" (PDF). Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Daniel Lawrence, no. 33. North Fourth-Street, near Race. 1792. pp. 3–10. Retrieved 2016-05-31. At "Headline ScienceNow: Science News from Fisher Science Education".
- Bedini, Silvio A. (1964), "Benjamin Banneker", Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers, United States National Museum Bulletin 231, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Museum of History and Technology, pp. 22–25, OCLC 999972. At Internet Archive.
- Bedini, Silvio A. (1970). "Benjamin Banneker and the Survey of the District of Columbia, 1791" (PDF). Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 47: 7–30. OCLC 3860814. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2013-01-13. Retrieved 2013-01-13. At boundarystones.org
- Bedini, Silvio A. (1971). The Life of Benjamin Banneker. New York: Scribner (copyright 1972). ISBN 0-684-12574-9. OCLC 241422.
- Bedini, Silvio A. (Spring–Summer 1991). "The Survey of the Federal Territory: Andrew Ellicott and Benjamin Banneker". Washington History. Washington, D.C.: Historical Society of Washington, D.C. 3 (1): 76–95. JSTOR 40072968.
- Bedini, Silvio A. (1999). The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society. ISBN 0-938420-59-3. OCLC 39024784.
- Murdock, Gail T. (November 11, 2002). "Benjamin Banneker – the man and the myths". Customer review of Bedini, Silvio A. (1999). "The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science", 2nd ed., Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society. Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Toscano, Patrick (March 2000). "Book review of Bedini, Silvio A. (1999), "The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science", 2nd ed., Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society". Professional Surveyor Magazine. Frederick, MD: Flatdog Media, Inc. 20 (3). Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Bedini, Silvio A. (2008). "Benjamin Banneker". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons: Encyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- "Benjamin Banneker Time Line". Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum, 300 Oella Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228 in Explore Catonsville, MD, part of the ExploreMD.us network. Ellicott City Graphic Arts Network. May 2006. Archived from the original on 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Bowling, Kenneth R. (1988). Creating the federal city, 1774–1800 : Potomac fever. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Architects Press. LCCN 88016810. OCLC 18068942.
- Cerami, Charles A. (2002). Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Astronomer, Publisher, Patriot. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-38752-7. OCLC 48265548.
- Corrigan, Mary Beth (April 2003). "Benjamin Banneker: Fabled Genius Considered": Review of Cerami, Charles A. (2002), Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Astronomer, Publisher, Patriot, New York: John Wiley & Sons "H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences: H-Net Maryland". H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online, Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- Crew, Harvey W., Webb, William Bensing, Wooldridge, John (1892). IV. "Permanent Capital Site Selected". Centennial History of the City of Washington, D.C. Dayton, Ohio: United Brethren Publishing House. p. 87. OCLC 2843595. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- Glawe, Eddie (2014-02-13). "Feature: Benjamin Banneker". xyHt. Archived from the original on 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
- Johnson, Richard (2007). "Banneker, Benjamin (1731-1806)". Online Encyclopedia of Significant People and Places in African American History. BlackPast.org. Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
- Jusserand, Jean Jules (1916). "Major L'Enfant and the Federal City". With Americans of Past and Present Days. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 137–195. LCCN 16011605. OCLC 1075914. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Latrobe, John H. B., Esq. (1845). Memoir of Benjamin Banneker: Read before the Maryland Historical Society at the Monthly Meeting, May 1, 1845. Baltimore, Maryland: Printed by John D. Toy. OCLC 568468091. Retrieved 2014-08-29. at Google Books.
- Linklater, Andro (2007). The fabric of America: how our borders and boundaries shaped the country and forged our national identity. New York: Walker & Co. ISBN 0-8027-1533-8. OCLC 138533044.
- Phillips, P. Lee (1917). "The Negro, Benjamin Banneker; Astronomer and Mathematician, Plea for Universal Peace (Read before the Society, April 18, 1916)". Records of the Columbia Historical Society. Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 20: 114–120. ISSN 0897-9049. LCCN 18019397. OCLC 1564221. Retrieved 2009-04-15. At Google Books.
- Stewart, John (1899). "Early Maps and Surveyors of the City of Washington, D.C.". Records of the Columbia Historical Society. Washington, D.C.: Columbia Historical Society. 2: 48–71. ISSN 0897-9049. OCLC 40326234. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Tyson, Martha Ellicott. A sketch of the life of Benjamin Banneker: from notes taken in 1836: read by J. Saurin Norris, before the Maryland Historical Society, October 5th, 1854. Baltimore, Maryland: Printed for the Maryland Historical Society by John D. Toy. At Internet Archive and Open Library: eBooks and Texts.
- Williams, George Washington (1882). Banneker The Astronomer. History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880: Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens; Together with a Preliminary Consideration of the Unity of the Human Family, an Historical Sketch of Africa, and an Account of the Negro Governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 386–398. LCCN 09003580. OCLC 6510556. At Google Books.
- Tyson, Martha Ellicott (1884). Kirk, Anne Tyson, ed. Banneker, the Afric-American Astronomer. From the posthumous papers of M.E. Tyson. Edited by her daughter. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Friends' Book Association. LCCN 04013085. OCLC 79879919. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Hartshorne, Henry, ed. (1884-06-21). "Book Notice: Banneker, the Afric-American Astronomer. From the posthumous papers of M.E. Tyson. Edited by Her Daughter. Phila. 1020 Arch Street. 1884". Friends Review: A Religious, Literary and Miscellaneous Journal. 1316 Filbert Street, Philadelphia: Franklin E. Paige. 37 (46): 729. Retrieved 2017-01-16. At Google Books.
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- Works by or about Benjamin Banneker at Internet Archive
- Works by Benjamin Banneker at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Bragg, George F., Jr. (1914). Benjamin Banneker. Men of Maryland. Church Advocate Press, Baltimore, Maryland. pp. 29–34. OCLC 4346580. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F. (May 2000). "Benjamin Banneker". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. St Andrews, Fife, Scotland: University of St Andrews School of Mathematics and Statistics. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
- Phoenix Films, Inc. (1981). "The Man Who Loved the Stars" (video). Docudrama starring Ossie Davis (59:11 minutes). Cinemonde International, Ltd. Retrieved 2016-04-15. At Internet Archive. Educational Films. Archived on 2015-07-28.