Inside the Vault: Benjamin Banneker
by Gilder Lehrman Staff
Benjamin Banneker is known for his work in science, mathematics, and astronomy. In 1791, he wrote to Thomas Jefferson to point out the contradictions between the existence of slavery and the American ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. He also responded to Jefferson’s statements about the inferiority of Black people. In the April 1, 2021, session of Inside the Vault, Keisha Rembert, Keisha Rembert, Assistant Professor of Teacher Preparation at National Louis University, and Warren Egypt Franklin, Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton, joined us as we analyzed Banneker’s correspondence with Thomas Jefferson and an 1845 book detailing Banneker’s work.
Click here to download the slides from the presentation.
Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented
- Memoir of Benjamin Banneker, May 1, 1845
- Benjamin Banneker’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 17, 1791
- Thomas Jefferson’s Response to Benjamin Banneker, August 30, 1791
Use the timestamps below to jump to the documents you want to view
- Memoir of Benjamin Banneker: –
- Benjamin Banneker’s letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 17, 1791: 7:20–28:44
- Thomas Jefferson’s Response to Benjamin Banneker, August 30, 1791: 28:44–1:01:54