Black History Month: Benjamin Banneker

Honoring Benjamin Banneker

The Good and the Beautiful is proud to celebrate Black History Month, first nationally recognized in 1976. Every United States president since has designated each February as an opportunity to honor the historical and current achievements of Black Americans. We are honoring these important figures in our history today by sharing the story of Benjamin Banneker. Keep reading for free printable PDF activities in honor of his life and Black History Month.

Graphic of Benjamin Banneker in Suit for Black History Month

Who is Benjamin Banneker?

Unlike most Black men in the United States in those years, Benjamin Banneker was born free in 1731. His father (a formerly enslaved man) and his mother (the daughter of a mixed-race couple) owned a very large and successful tobacco farm where Benjamin grew up and enjoyed working. They suffered from prejudice and alienation because it was not common for Black people to own property. 

When he was a child, Benjamin’s grandmother taught him to read and instilled in him a love of books. He attended school alongside both White and Black children, something very uncommon at the time. He was smart and loved math. Clocks were also quite uncommon, but Benjamin hand-carved and developed his own clock when he was just in his 20s. 

What is Benjamin Banneker famous for?

As he grew up, Benjamin Banneker studied astronomy, became a great scientist, and tried to help end slavery. He learned how to survey land from a man named Andrew Ellicot. To survey land is to measure and map it, which was an especially important job in Colonial America, the period in which Benjamin lived.

He had a significant role during the building of the US capital city in Washington, DC, and then wrote an almanac with facts about the stars, natural medicines, and more. 

Graphic of young Benjamin Banneker sitting looking at the stars for Black History Month

Benjamin worked hard during his life to further the opportunities and recognition for Black Americans. His dream was for everyone to be recognized not for the color of their skin, but for their personal qualities and who they were as people. He spoke up for equality and continues to be honored as an amazing, dedicated person who impacted US and Black history! 

For a closer look at Benjamin Banneker’s life, visit this page, which is a document from the White House Historical Association

Download your free PDF of Black History Month activities below!

For Extra Reading…

Click any of the book covers below for more
good books to help celebrate Black History Month.

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  • Meredith Lawser

    Would love it if this article could be printed!

  • leigh

    Thanks so much for posting this! We’re using it today 🙂

  • Porschia Haley

    What a lovely freebie, thank you for creating this and making it available for free! I do wish it was more in depth to carry throughout and beyond the month and meet the needs of more ages/grades, even if it were a paid unit (in the same size/depth/price as your science units would be ideal) or maybe if people bought 2-3 books and the unit download was included…just thinking out loud as I know this company is always growing and making things even better

    • The Good and the Beautiful

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a suggestion, Porschia! We are continually striving to offer additional resources so we appreciate this. We do have units and lessons in our history courses that expand on Black History as well so you may want to look into our 4-year outline and samples of history in the meantime to see if that is something that would help you and your family. Thanks again!

  • Love this! Thank you.