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How a Black Man, Benjamin Banneker Helped Create the Design Plans for Washington DC

Benjamin Banneker was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. Without Benjamin Banneker, our nation’s capital would not exist as we know it.  After a year of work, the black man hired by George Washington to design the capital, L’Enfant, stormed off the job, taking all the plans.  Banneker, placed on the planning committee at Thomas Jefferson’s request, saved the project by reproducing from memory, in two days, a complete layout of the streets, parks, and major buildings. Thus Washington D.C. itself can be considered a monument to the genius of this great man.


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Written by PH

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