Did you know that in the mid 1700s, black astronomist Benjamin Banneker made America’s first functional clock…out of wood? Banneker is also regarded for his many almanacs and for being a part of a team that blueprinted the layout of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
Interesting Story: Banneker and Thomas Jefferson were pen pals in a bigger way than you might expect. Banneker wrote Jefferson (then the U.S. Secretary of State) explaining to him that African Americans had the same mental and intellectual capacity as Whites and that African Americans deserved equal rights in America. This exchange became much more monumental as it eventually lead to Banneker becoming a part of the team to survey the land that would eventually be the nation’s capital.