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Additional info for Benjamin Banneker : Mathematician and Stargazer
The abolitionists were very happy with this publicity for their cause. Jefferson’s reply was short but sympathetic. He 30 Thomas Jefferson wrote this letter to Benjamin Banneker on August 30, 1791. ” Jefferson added that he hoped for a new system that would improve the “state of the Negro” in America. He also told Banneker that he had sent a copy of the almanac to a friend, the secretary of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, France. ” In December 1791, Banneker’s first almanac went on sale.
After the 1795 edition, sales began to decline. More and more almanacs were being published, and a black author was no longer a big selling point. Americans were not as enthusiastic about the abolitionist movement. Most of them believed that slavery was a local issue. This feeling remained until the 1860s, when the fight over slavery was resolved by the American Civil War. While he was busy with his almanacs, Banneker had little time to grow tobacco. Perhaps it was time to quit farming. He kept a small plot for his vegetable garden and rented out the rest of his land to neighbors.
What must be considered an extraordinary Effort of Genius . . calculated by a sable Descendant of Africa . . ” Whether because of all the advertising, Banneker’s excellent work, or both, the first almanac sold very well. Banneker was astonished. He was even more astonished by his sudden fame. Used to living alone, he was now often visited by neighbors and strangers who had read his almanac and heard of his chiming clock. He invited them in and enjoyed the attention. Banneker, however, did not have a lot of free time for visitors.