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Brad S. Born

Benjamin Banneker was born 9 November 1731in Baltimore County, Maryland, the first child of free African American parents Mary Banneker and Robert, a former slave whose freedom she had purchased and who took her surname upon marriage. Growing up on their tobacco farm, Benjamin received little formal schooling, learning to read and write from his grandmother and attending for several seasons an interracial school where he first developed his lifelong interest in mathematics. Following his parents’ deaths and three sisters’ departures from home, Banneker remained on the farm, working the crops and cultivating his intellect in relative seclusion.

In 1771, he befriended George Ellicott a Quaker neighbor whose family had developed a large complex of mills on the adjoining property With astronomical texts and instruments borrowed from Ellicott he trained himself to calculate ephemerides tables establishing the positioning of the sun moon and stars for each day ...


Jason Philip Miller

writer and poet, was born in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, one of two children to Mary Ann and William Henry Scott. Scott was a buffalo soldier stationed at Fort Elliott, located in the eastern Texas panhandle. According to some sources, Coleman's mother was a slave whom her father had purchased and emancipated. She worked as an on-base laundress and later took work in private life as a domestic. When William Henry left service, the family relocated briefly to Mexico, but Mary's poor health (she apparently suffered from a weak heart) convinced them to return to the States to homestead in New Mexico. The family was politically engaged, if not actively involved in politics, and Scott was a member of some of the local fraternal societies and much interested in the “race question” of the day.

Coleman attended local schools in Silver City including Silver City High School and eventually ...


It is now conventional to trace black British writing back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and the autobiographical slave narratives of Ukawsaw Gronniosaw (1772), Ignatius Sancho (1782), Olaudah Equiano (1789), and Mary Seacole (1857 However the more distinct genres of black ...


Although little is known about the life of Ann Plato, her legacy holds an important place in African American literature. Plato's sole book, Essays: Including Biographies and Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose and Poetry, published in 1841, represents the only book of essays issued by a black American between 1840 and 1865. Following that of Phillis Wheatley, it was also only the second book published by an African American woman.

Based on information garnered primarily from her writings, scholars have determined that Plato probably was born about 1820 Her poem The Infant Class for example suggests that Plato began to teach young children when she herself was only fifteen years old Her poem The Natives of America links her to her paternal Native American heritage and another poem I Have No Brother indicates that she had a brother named Henry who died when she was ...