African Americans on Postage Stamps

Benjamin Banneker

Mathematician and Astronomer

15-cent Benjamin Banneker stamp
The Benjamin Banneker stamp issued February 15, 1980.

"The color of the skin is in no way connected with the strength of the mind or intellectual powers."
—Benjamin Banneker.

A self-taught mathematician and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker was probably the most accomplished African American of America’s colonial period. In 1753, he constructed the first wooden striking clock made in America. His studies and calculations in astronomy allowed him to successfully predict a solar eclipse in 1789 and to publish farmer’s almanacs in the 1790s. In 1791 he helped design and survey the city of Washington, D.C.

The Black Experience