The White Man's Burden

Ben Bey

Ben Bey! Ben El? At the beginning of the 1790s, Benjamin Banneker became an author, publishing an annual Farmer’s Almanac. He sent a copy of this Almanac to the then secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson.

Benjamin’s ingenuity and abilities moved Thomas Jefferson to place him on the survey team that would lay a plan for the construction of Washington D.C. It was a three-man team, but the lead architect, a Frenchman, L’Enfant, later quit the project and didn’t leave any of the blueprints behind for Benjamin and the other teammate.

But that did not stop Benjamin from completing the layout of Washinton D.C. He had amazing and out-of-the-world memory, so he put it to work. He remembered every bit and pattern of the design that was worked on and enhanced it to fully develop the plan and design of Washington D.C as we know it today.

He went on to become a revered and internationally known polymath: farmer, engineer, surveyor, city planner, astronomer, mathematician, inventor, author, and social critic. He later died on the 25th of October 1806.

But just like many black people who have bettered the world through inventions, Benjamin’s achievements are somewhat swept under the rug by America and its white supremacist agenda. His contribution to modern science and technology should get him a position as one of America’s most decorated icons, but he is not. Many Black children do not know him and the feet he achieved while he was alive.

Stories such as these are meant to teach Black people worldwide that we are better than the picture painted of us. We are Gods and inventors, and our minds should be focused on healing ourselves and the community. Stories such as this should make us understand that we are alone in this world, and we owe it to our unborn generation to reclaim our lost glory.