SUMMARY OF THE PRINCE & THE CONVICT (B. Banneker)

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Benjamin Banneker was born of great intellectuals and hard workers; it showed through his may accomplishments. Bannekers grandmother was a white dairymaid in Devon, England by the name of Molly Welsh. His grandfather was thought to be of royal lineage and was captured into slavery before he could succeed his father as king.

Molly's master believed she stole a pail of milk and wanted her executed. The courts gave her an opportunity to show that she was still useful, so she read a passage from the Bible. Upon her reading she was sentenced to seven years of servitude into the colony of Maryland. She was blessed by most accounts with a fair master possibly a Quaker, after seven years was completed she was provided with blouses, skirts, shoes, an ox, a hoe, a gun, fifty acres of farmland and a small amount of cash. After surveying her land she purchased two slaves, one man was a hard worker and very effective.

The second man by the name of Banneka did not work do to the fact that he was the son of a king.

Even though Banneka did not work, he utilized other skills bestowed upon him to help on the farm. He hunted, grew crops with precise timing and provided irrigation for the farm to flourish. All of these things were put upon him as a king/chiefs son in order to lead his people. Its strongly believed his ancestors were Dogon and from Mali. Dogon's were known for their ability in the fields of astronomy, farming and irrigation.

Once the farm was established Molly gave Banneka his papers stating that he was a free man and she married him. Banneka and Molly had four daughters. Mary the second oldest was a tall beautiful brown skinned woman and she wanted to get married. At the time though it would have been unlikely for anyone to marry a free woman and a slave, do to the fact that the law stated whoever performed the ceremony would be sentenced to slavery. Mary and Molly decided to purchase a slave and did. Mary was impressed because the man wanted to be baptized as a Christian. He was more than happy to accept the name of Robert Bannaky, and became very important to the family's steady uprising. Robert was also a great father of four, the more he got the more he acquired he bought a twenty-five acre farm and named it Timber Poynt.

Benjamin was born November 9, 1731. He was truly loved by his parents, but his grandmother gave him more attention. He developed great knowledge from her face to face teachings. He never met his grandfather but his Dogon ancestry would show the rest of his life. He developed skills is farming, knowledge of the weather and astronomy all characteristics of the Dogons.

When Benjamin was six his father traded seven thousand pounds of tobacco for 100 acres of land. The land was the new home of his family and as their children grew up they also built their cabins on the land. The homes no longer exist but a Banneker Memorial was built that has a marble museum on the grounds.

At the ages of five and six Benjamin was able to write with out any mistakes, supply answers to questions with quotations from the Bible and check and quote financial records of the neighbors. When he got older he went out digging and planting with his father. So even with his wealth of knowledge he never lost site of the fact that his survival not only depended on his mind but also the necessary duties to be completed by hard work.