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Benjamin Banneker. Pioneering Scientist by Ginger Wadsworth

By Ginger Wadsworth

Introduces Benjamin Banneker, a loose black guy of the eighteenth century who enjoyed to benefit and used his wisdom and observations to construct a wood clock, write an almanac, and aid survey the streets of Washington, D.C.

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He still played his violin or f lute as the sun went down. At night, he wrapped himself in a cloak and went outside to look at the stars. Benjamin Banneker never stopped wondering why. 44 In 1980, the United States Post Office issued a Benjamin Banneker stamp. The title page from one of Benjamin’s almanacs. He spelled his name Bannaker, but it was later changed to Banneker. 46 Afterword Benjamin Banneker died in 1806 at the age of 75. The day he was buried, his log cabin burned to the ground. Almost everything Benjamin owned was lost, including his wooden clock and his books.

33 Benjamin dipped his pen in the ink bottle over and over again. Piles of paper covered his table. On some, he had written math problems. Some had notes about the sky and the weather. When the rooster crowed, Benjamin put away his work. It was time to milk the cows. 34 In 1790, President Washington chose a site to build America’s capital city. The area was called the District of Columbia. It was only a few hours away from Benjamin’s farm. The president needed surveyors to plan the streets. The top surveyor on the job was Andrew Ellicott, George’s cousin.

It was time to finish his almanac. 37 Almanac Writer 1791 At home, Benjamin wrote and wrote. When he stopped, it was only to sharpen his pen tip with his knife. He checked his math many times. Sometimes he forgot to do the farm chores. It took Benjamin four months to write an almanac for the year 1792. His book was packed with information that people needed—especially farmers. 38 Benjamin made four copies of his almanac in his best penmanship. He sent one copy to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was the secretary of state of the United States.

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