February, as everyone knows, is Black History Month. And while many people are familiar with the contributions of African-American writers, artists, musicians and athletes, many may not be so familiar with the many contributions African-Americans have made in the many fields of science, from mathematics to medicine to astrophycsics and beyond.
Biography.com has a great list of Black people who made groundbreaking first contributions to their fields. And one of the first in US history was astrophysicist, city planner and scientist Benjamin Banneker.
Banneker was born free in Maryland in 1731, and was largely self-taught in mathematics and astronomy. He was one of the surveyors who helped construct the US capital , Washington, DC, and was a prolific writer of almanacs, which included his astronomical observations and information about tides, which was particularly helpful to the fishermen of the time. And he corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, asking him to do what he could to promote racial equality in the new country.