By Bonnie Hinman
Born loose while such a lot blacks have been slaves, Banneker was once a profitable land surveyor, astronomer, and writer of almanacs.
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Extra resources for Benjamin Banneker: American Mathematician and Astronomer (Colonial Leaders)
He sent a copy to a printer in Georgetown and delivered another copy to William Goddard, the Baltimore printer who had rejected the 1791 ephemeris. Then he waited. An ephemeris was the most important part of an almanac but not the only part. Almanacs of the late 1700s included articles and stories and poems. Usually the printer provided those rather than the writer of the ephemeris. Sometimes almanacs contained letters. They also predicted the weather and told when to plant crops in the spring.
Checked. Ben’s work passed the test easily. Next Mr. Pemberton asked a well-known Philadelphia 53 54 BENJAMIN BANNEKER printer, Joseph Crukshank, to look at Ben’s work. Mr. Crukshank had published many books and pamphlets in support of blacks and abolition. Ben was pleased that Mr. Crukshank was considering his work. But this brought up a question that bothered Ben. Was his ephemeris being considered because it was an accurate scientific work? Or was it B en’s Philadelphia printer, Joseph Crukshank, is best known for another book because he was a free black?
Major Ellicott met with the president to report the progress made. Ben may have met and talked to the president at that time as well. By late April the first part of the survey had been finished. The four corners for the 10-mile square were marked. Major Ellicott’s two The Big Adventure brothers had arrived to help with the survey. Ben had to make a decision. Should he stay longer to work on the project? Or should he go home? He loved his new work, but he was tired. His sisters had been taking care of his farm for many weeks.