Benjamin Banneker: The Man Who Loved the Stars – “My whole life has been a mathematical proof of what a black man can do.” – Benjamin Banneker
Freeborn in 1731 in Maryland, Banneker taught himself mathematics and astronomy. He compiled all the scientific materials for the almanac which was published annually under his name during the last decade of the 18th Century, and he was part of the team of surveyors who laid down the boundaries for the new federal city of Washington under Major Andrew Ellicott.
In this docu-drama, a single day late in Banneker’s career provides the dramatic framework from which his personality and accomplishments, both past and present, evolve naturally. A man of tremendous accomplishments – he was a clock-maker, a farmer, an astronomer, a surveyor, a mathematician, and the creator of “Benjamin Banneker’s Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanac” – he became a symbol in the Abolitionist argument for racial equality. For Banneker himself, the important thing was for his work to be recognized on its own merit.
His personal achievements, despite overwhelming odds of geographical isolation, old age, infirm health, limited formal education and grave racial barriers, are a testimonial to the creative power of the individual human spirit.
Starring Ossie Davis as Benjamin Banneker.
Produced by Jochen Breitenstein.
Directed by Bob Walsh and Leroy Morais.
Chief Historical Advisor: Dr. Silvio A. Bedini of the Smithsonian Institute.
Based on Dr. Bedini’s book, The Life of Benjamin Banneker.
58 minutes • Color