Benjamin Banneker was born on a farm near Baltimore, Maryland, in
1731. He was the son of a freed mother and a slave father. As he grew
older, he showed a keen interest in building mechanical devices, even
building the first wooden clock in America.
Banneker developed a reputation in fields as diverse as astronomy,
geology, physics, mathematics, and surveying. The latter led Thomas
Jefferson to recommended him for a position on the commission to
survey and plan Washington, D.C.
He also published seven yearly almanacs, for which is possibly