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Tasheeva Drayton History 67 Week Six
1) Who was Benjamin Banneker and why did Thomas Jefferson write this letter to him in August 1791? 2) What does this letter tell us about the attitudes of white America on the subject of race at the end of the Eighteenth century?
Benjamin Banneker was a black man who was a famous Astronomer and mathematician from Maryland. He created an almanac in which he was praised for. The almanac was a big success; Banneker received thanks and recognition from very prominent figures in this point in history. Thomas Jefferson wrote him a thank you letter for his contributions made by publishing the almanac. At the end of the eighteenth century whites were looking at blacks as a fellow man. Almost as an equal Jefferson says " Nobody wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit that nature has given to our black brother, talents equal to those of the other colour." He uses the word Brother to show that at this time they were in this country together not to be against one another. They no longer looked down on African Americans because they were proving to be an asset in the colonies. Banneker showed the intelligence of African Americans and was greatly rewarded with the letter from Jefferson praising his contribution and his intelligence.