Who was Benjamin Banneker?

Born on November 9, 1731, Benjamin Banneker was a free black man whose father was a former slave. He was a farmer, mathematician, amateur astronomer and surveyor. In 1791, he assisted in the first survey of Washington D.C., then known as the Federal District. Later in his life, at 58, he began to study astronomy and became skilled at predicting solar and lunar eclipses. Between 1792 and 1797, he compiled the ephemeris, or information table, for annual almanacs, including his own, entitled simply ‘Benjamin Banneker’s Almanac.’