What do you see when you look at the stars? Benjamin Banneker saw astronomical patterns from which he could make calculations and predictions. A mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland.
Largely self-taught, Banneker was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science. His significant accomplishments include the successful prediction of a solar eclipse, publishing his own almanac, and the surveying of Washington, D.C. Banneker spent most of his life on his family's 100-acre farm outside Baltimore. There, he taught himself astronomy by watching the stars and learned advanced mathematics from borrowed textbooks.