Benjamin Banneker & Paul Cuffee Essay

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Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author 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. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States.
Banneker's knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery and racial equality. Abolitionists and
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A devout Christian, Cuffee often preached and spoke at the Sunday services at the multi-racial Society of Friends meeting house in Westport, Massachusetts. In 1813, he donated most of the money to build a new meeting house. He became involved in the British effort to resettle freed slaves, many of whom had moved from the US to Nova Scotia after the American Revolution, to the fledgling colony of Sierra Leone. Cuffee helped establish The Friendly Society of Sierra Leone, which provided financial support for the colony. At the time of his father's death, young Cuffee knew little more than the alphabet but dreamed of gaining an education and being involved in the shipping industry. The closest mainland port to Cuttyhunk was New Bedford, Massachusetts—the center of the American whaling industry. Cuffee used his limited free time to learn more about ships and sailing from sailors he encountered. Finally, at age 16, Paul Cuffee signed onto a whaling ship and, later on, cargo ships, where he learned navigation. In his journal, he now referred to himself as a mariner. In 1776 during the American Revolution he was captured and held prisoner by the British for 3 months in New York.
After his release, Paul, who was still living with his siblings in Massachusetts, farmed and studied. In 1779, he and his brother David built a small boat to ply the nearby coast and

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