Celebrating Black History Month: Benjamin Banneker

February is Black History Month.   Miss Nana Wyshall B. Wright’s long-time friend Ole Mister Johns teaches his great-grandson about Black History.  In The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns, Ole Mister Johns helps his great-grandson choose the subject for a homework assignment.  During a visit to the Capitol Mall, Ole Mister Johns offers a suggestion to his great-grandson, Lil John. 

“Then you will write about Benjamin Banneker and help educate your classmates about a great man who is responsible for how the capital of the United States of America still looks today.”

Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States.

Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery and racial equality. Abolitionists and advocates of racial equality promoted and praised his works.

Although a fire on the day of Banneker’s funeral destroyed many of his papers and belongings, one of his journals and several of his remaining artifacts are presently available for public viewing.

The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns is available in print …  click here to purchase a copy.  The Miss Nana Wyshall B. Wright Series of Bedtime Stories are also available in print or in digital format … click here to purchase one of the books in print or click here for a digital version. 

This year, Second Wind Creations celebrates each day in February with Black History related posts in our blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter account. Stay tuned and learn more about Black History!  Share your Black history stories in the comments section below.


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