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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Additional info for Benjamin Banneker: American Mathematician and Astronomer (Colonial Leaders)
It was astronomy, the study of the stars and planets. George had bought books about astronomy and 34 BENJAMIN BANNEKER several telescopes. Looking at the stars became George’s hobby. After a while George found that he didn’t have time for his hobby anymore. He loaded up his books and a telescope and took them to Ben’s cabin. It was Ben’s turn to study the stars. George even brought a sturdy wooden table for Ben to use as a desk. Ben soon found that he loved astronomy. He read the books and taught himself how to use the telescope and some other tools that George had left.
Finally Mr. Goddard said he wanted to print an almanac using Ben’s ephemeris. He paid Ben a small price for his work. Ben was delighted. Now he would also try also to get his ephemeris published in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was an important city. He hoped that many people there would want to buy his almanac. Philadelphia also had an active antislavery society. The men who had been interested in Ben’s first ephemeris the year before lived in Philadelphia. Perhaps they would help him this year. Ben talked to George, who offered to write a letter to his brother Elias in Baltimore.
Making a copy took many long hours since it had to be carefully done by hand. How could Ben do it when he was so sick? Perhaps Ben was about to feel better or perhaps the excitement cured him. Whatever the case, Ben was able to get out of bed and copy the ephemeris in a few days. George arranged for the copy to be delivered to Mr. Pemberton in Philadelphia. Now there was another wait. Mr. Pemberton sent the ephemeris to two different men to be The First Almanac James Pemberton, president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, helped Ben get his almanac published in Philadelphia.
Benjamin Banneker: American Mathematician and Astronomer (Colonial Leaders) by Bonnie Hinman