Benjamin Bannaky was born in Maryland in 1731. He was the son of Robert a former slave and Mary Bannaky He grew up on a tobacco farm and was taught to read by his grand mother. When he became twelve he went to a Quaker school. The teacher Peter Heinrich changed his name to what he is known as today Benjamin Banneker.
Banneker is famous for several things one of which being his ability to make and fix watches and clocks. This started when he was in his early twenties when Joseph Levi gave him a watch because Banneker was so interested in it. Banneker studied the watch and made drawings of its mechanisms. Using his drawings by 1753 he made a clock by carving larger pieces out of wood. Banneker’s clock was so accurate it kept time for nearly forty years. This is said to be the first clock made in America.
Banneker’s almanac is very well known also. He taught astronomy and math to himself. Studying the stars he predicted the weather and tide calculations and eclipses for the almanacs he published from 1792-1797. Banneker’s almanacs were nearly as good as Benjamin Franklin’s famous Poor Richards Almanac. He sent his first almanac to Thomas Jefferson who was Secretary of State at the time.
Banneker helped survey Washington D. C. in 1791. He worked with Pierre L'Enfant designing the city. Pierre quit and went to France soon after the planning was completed. When Pierre he took all the architectural plans with him. Washington thought all was lost but Banneker had the plans for the whole city memorized. He drew up the plans as they were in just two days. Banneker was well known throughout America and Europe as a brilliant mind because of this and his almanacs. He died at the age of seventy-five October 25, 1806 on his farm in Maryland.