BENJAMIN BANNEKER (1731–1806) worked with Pierre L’Enfant, Andrew Ellicott, and others to plan Washington, D.C., the new capital of the United States. After Mr. L’Enfant was dismissed from the project and took his detailed maps with him, Mr. Banneker was able to reproduce the maps from memory and complete the survey. Before being appointed by President George Washington to work on the capital, Mr. Banneker distinguished himself as a self-taught mathematician and astronomer. He predicted the solar eclipse that occurred on April 14, 1789, contradicting forecasts by more prominent astronomers. Two years later Mr. Banneker began publishing the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris, which became a regional bestseller and was published until 1802.

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