1791 – Benjamin Banneker writes to Thomas Jefferson, urging justice for African Americans


On August 19, 1791, the accomplished American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker pens a letter to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson corresponds prolifically with luminaries from around the world, but Banneker is unique among them: the son of a free Black American woman and a formerly enslaved African man from Guinea, Banneker criticizes Jefferson’s hypocritical stance on slavery in respectful but unambiguous terms, using Jefferson’s own words to make his case for the abolition of slavery.

Banneker himself was born free in what is now Ellicott City, Maryland, and was encouraged in his studies of astronomy and mathematics by the Ellicotts, a Quaker family who owned a mill and much of the land in the area. Predicting a solar eclipse and constructing a functioning clock that struck on the hour were among his early achievements. His prowess caught the eye of Jefferson after Major Andrew Ellicott chose Banneker to assist him in surveying the original boundaries of what would become the District of Columbia. Banneker also compiled several ephemerides (a type of astronomical chart) and almanacs.

On August 19, 1791, the accomplished American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker pens a letter to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson corresponds prolifically with luminaries from around the world, but Banneker is unique among them: the son of a free Black American woman and a formerly enslaved African man from Guinea, Banneker criticizes Jefferson’s hypocritical stance on slavery in respectful but unambiguous terms, using Jefferson’s own words to make his case for the abolition of slavery.

Banneker himself was born free in what is now Ellicott City, Maryland, and was encouraged in his studies of astronomy and mathematics by the Ellicotts, a Quaker family who owned a mill and much of the land in the area. Predicting a solar eclipse and constructing a functioning clock that struck on the hour were among his early achievements. His prowess caught the eye of Jefferson after Major Andrew Ellicott chose Banneker to assist him in surveying the original boundaries of what would become the District of Columbia. Banneker also compiled several ephemerides (a type of astronomical chart) and almanacs.

For the complete article: history.com

READ MORE: Why Thomas Jefferson’s Anti-Slavery Passage Was Removed from the Declaration of Independence

Citation Information

Article Title

Benjamin Banneker writes to Thomas Jefferson, urging justice for African Americans

AuthorHistory.com Editors

Website Name

HISTORY

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/benjamin-banneker-writes-letter-to-thomas-jefferson-slavery

Access Date

August 19, 2022

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

August 17, 2022

Original Published Date

July 20, 2021

on this day 8/19 1934 – Adolf Hitler was approved for sole executive power in Germany as Fuehrer.


1812 – “Old Ironsides” (the USS Constitution) won a battle against the British frigate Guerriere east of Nova Scotia.

1848 – The discovery of gold in California was reported by the New York Herald.

1856 – Gail Borden received a patent for his process of condensing milk by vacuum.

1919 – Afghanistan gained independence from Britain.

1929 – “Amos and Andy,” the radio comedy program, made its debut on NBC starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.

1934 – Adolf Hitler was approved for sole executive power in Germany as Fuehrer.

1940 – The new Civil Aeronautics Administration awarded honorary license #1 to Orville Wright.

1942 – About 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France. They suffered about 50 percent casualties.

1960 – Francis Gary Powers, an American U-2 pilot, was convicted of espionage in Moscow.

1960 – Two dogs were launched in a satellite into Earth’s orbit by the Soviet Union.

1962 – Homero Blancas shot a 55 at the Premier Invitational Golf Tournament held in Longview, TX. It was the lowest score in U.S. competitive golf history.

1974 – During an anti-American protest in Nicosia, Cyprus, U.S. Ambassador Rodger P. Davies was fatally wounded by a bullet while in the American embassy.

1981 – Two Libyan SU-22s were shot down by two U.S. Navy F-14 fighters in the Gulf of Sidra.

1991 – Soviet hard-liners announced that President Mikhail Gorbachev had been removed from power. Gorbachev returned to power two days later.

1998 – The first piece of the 351 foot bronze statue of Christopher Columbus arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1999 – In Belgrade, thousands of Serbs attended a rally to demand the resignation of Yugoslavia’s President Slobodan Milosevic.

2004 – Google Inc. stock began selling on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The initial price was set at $85 and ended the day at $100.34 with more than 22 million shares traded.

Heat Advisory – AND some Rain and possible Lightening Strikes


from Thu, Aug 18, 3:12 PM PDT to Fri, Aug 19, 12:00 AM PDT

What

Hot conditions with temperatures in the mid 80s to mid 90s expected. This will pose a moderate to high risk of heat- related illness.

Where

Portions of northwest and west central Washington.

When

Until midnight PDT tonight.

Impacts

Heat will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses for those who are sensitive to heat, especially those without effective cooling or adequate hydration.

Tips

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9 1 1. For sheltering information and other human services in your area, dial 2 1 1 during business hours or visit wa211.org anytime.

Issued By

NWS Seattle