Edited and revised by Dale Shields
“My whole life has been a mathematical proof of what a black man can do.” – Benjamin Banneker
In Stevie Wonder’s 1976 track, Black Man, the lyrics profess: “First clock to be made/ In America was created by a Black man”. That Black man he is referencing was Benjamin Banneker. Abolitionist, inventor, and “The man who saved Washington”, Benjamin Banneker possessed a revolutionary mind during a time rife with struggle. Banneker’s name is credited for many accomplishments, some of which are having built the first clock in America, confronting the hypocrisy of a future American president, reconstituting the plans for the district of Columbia from pure memory and publishing several successful almanacs. He fought for equality through the peaceful protest of written word and was an example of a truly brilliant person who managed to actualize his lofty dreams regardless of having been born without great opportunity.