THE LIFE OF BENJAMIN BANNEKER? By Andre Austin Benjamin Banneker is considered a twin of Benjamin Franklin in every way except for DNA to distinguish color. Brothers not by genes but by talent. Banneker was born in 1731 (the same year Franklin published Poor Richard’s almanac). Banneker name comes from Banneka- meaning “Son of a King” he inherited from his grandfather who was bought as a slave. Banneker’s Caucasian grandmother, Molly Welsh, was sparred her life in England because she knew how to read. Molly was sentenced in 1683 to 7 years of servitude in the Maryland colony. While she worked she saved her money and was able to purchase 2 slaves to help her on her tobacco farm. One of those slaves she freed and married was Banneka. The two of them gave birth to a daughter , Mary, who later would give birth to Benjamin. It’s widely speculated that Banneka was a slave from Guinea/Mali coming from the tribe of Dogon. The Dogon tribe knew of the invisible star of Sirius without the aid of a telescope. Although critics claim they used rock crystals as lenses some counterclaim that crystals do not produce enough magnification to see the unseen. Banneker came from this line of ancient astrologers who were in tuned with the stars in the sky and its applicable relationship to farming and other matters here on earth. Banneker was a mathematical wizard, he built his own clock made of all wood in 1753 that lasted 20 plus years. He also charted the stars, helped survey Washington DC and wrote a widely popular Almanac in the 1790’s. Banneker used his Almanac, smarts and popularity to confront Thomas Jefferson double standard on his literary use of freedom and equality when he drafted one of the most important documents in America-The declaration of Independence. Jefferson believed that blacks didn’t have the same cognitive ability as whites and he kept them as sex pets and slaves for personal gain. Bannker pleaded with Jefferson to put his shoes in the slave shoes and do justice. Banneker used biblical language of “put your souls in their souls” to those doomed to slavery. Jefferson wrote back saying he was going to send his Almanac to an academy in Paris and said: “I considered it a document to which your color had a right for their justification against the doubts” (of black inferiority). This brief correspondence between Jefferson and Banneker was published in all of Banneker’s future Almanac’s which pleased all of the abolitionists. Banneker died in 1806. While his funeral was taking place white racists burnt his cabin containing his inventions and papers in an attempt to suppress the fact that this man of color was a genius just like his twin Benjamin Franklin. Their attempts to rob him of his wisdom and humanity failed.