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Benjamin Banneker

A self-taught son of a freed slave, Benjamin Banneker rose to prominence as a scientist, mathematician, astronomer and almanac author before his death in 1806. Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy was the basis for his work in helping famed U.S. surveyor Andrew Ellicott with the initial survey of the boundaries of the original District of Columbia. Later in his life, Banneker published a series of almanacs and traded letters with Thomas Jefferson on the issue of slavery. To honor his valuable contributions in field of earth and space sciences, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency named a conference room in his honor at NGA Campus East in Springfield, Va.