Benjamin Banneker (1731 – 1806) Benjamin Banneker was a scientist, astronomer, inventor and writer. Banneker was one of the first African Americans to be recognized for his accomplishments in science.
In 1753, he built the first watch made in America, a wooden pocket watch. Twenty years later, Banneker made astronomical calculations that predicted a 1789 solar eclipse. His estimate was different than ones made by more well-known mathematicians and astronomers of the time. Banneker was right!
Banneker is best known for the six annual Farmer's Almanacs he published between 1792 and 1797. These almanacs included information on machines and medical treatment, and listed tides, astronomical information, and eclipses, all calculated by Banneker himself.
Banneker's mechanical and mathematical abilities impressed many, including Thomas Jefferson who met Banneker while he was working with the surveying team that laid out Washington D.C.