Benjamin Banneker, originally Banna Ka, or Bannakay (1731-1806) is considered to be one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science. This beautiful sculpture was purchased from an elderly African American woman. On the back it is marked, "Property of Dorothy Thompson, #1" by the artist, S. Davis and dated '79 (13" high and 7" across). This is a one and only original clay sculpture, painted black.
BACKGROUND: At 21, Banneker saw a pocket watch that was owned by a traveling salesman named Josef Levi. He was so fascinated by it that Levi gave it to him. Banneker spent days taking it apart and reassembling it. From it Banneker then carved large-scale wooden replicas of each piece, calculating the gear assemblies himself, and used the parts to make a striking clock. The clock continued to work, striking each hour, for more than 40 years. This event changed his life, and he became a watch and clock maker.