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Benjamin Banneker

Catherine A. Welch

Non-Fiction (Series)

Ages 8 to 10

Lerner, 2008, 978-0-8225-7167-4

  Benjamin Banneker was lucky. Though he was African-American and had a dark skin, he was not a slave as so many of his people were. Instead he was born free and his father owned a farm in the state of Maryland. Benjamin, his parents, and his four sisters worked together to make their farm fruitful, and there was a never ending list of chores that needed to be done.

  Benjamin worked hard with his hands weeding, hoeing and the like, but he also liked to use his mind. He learned how to read, to write, and to speak well, and he was able to get an education at a school run by a Quaker. When he was just twenty Benjamin built a clock out of wood that worked. Since very few people at this time understood the mechanisms inside clocks, Benjamin’s clock was greatly admired.

  Unfortunately Benjamin was not able to build other clocks or machines. When he was twenty-eight Benjamin’s father died and Benjamin had to take over the care of the family farm. This did not stop him from using his mind however, and with the help of kindly neighbors Benjamin went far to show people that African-Americans could be just as clever and inventive as anyone else.

  Young people who have not heard of Benjamin Banneker will learn a good deal about this special man when they read this History Maker Bios book. Well written and with many period illustrations and informative text boxes, this is an excellent biography for children.


Benjamin Banneker


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