500 Word Essay
My topic is Benjamin Banneker. I chose this topic because when I was in the third grade I did a report on Benjamin Banneker and I have been learning about him ever since. Last year in fact, I was about to do History Day on him but then I changed my mind when I learned that the topic had changed. This year I decided to finally do History Day on him. As it turned out I already had a lot of resources on this topic.
My research began on the internet. But not the type of research most people do, my research was on Ebay when I asked my mom if I could purchase a few items of interest. So we sat down together and bid on a few items. I found a stamp from the time period in which he lived. On this stamp there was a picture of his face. I also purchased a few books. One of which is by far one of my best resources. It provided me with very detailed information on Banneker's life, as well as documents that Banneker wrote to Thomas Jefferson in an effort to prove that African Americans had the same mental capability of any so called "white" person. I also obtained some pictures of Banneker as well as pictures of his hand-written documents. This will prove to be quite useful when constructing my web site.
I furthered my research by going through search engines such as Excite. This was long and tedious because a lot of the sources were not of any use to me. I did find the site of the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. I contacted the director, Steven X. Lee and he referred me to Gwen Marable. She is the great, great, great, great, great granddaughter of Benjamin Banneker. After thoroughly checking into the internet I decided it would be best to check out a book instead. I went to the Glendora and local public libraries to get some books that could help me. I got a few books that will greatly help me in my research.
This topic ties into the History Day topic perfectly. First of all the theme is Exploration, Encounter and Exchange. This topic, Benjamin Banneker ties into Exploration because it shows how Benjamin Banneker explored the limits of the human mind as well as exploring the boundaries put on the slaves and freed African Americans of his time. It also ties into Encounter because he encountered the restrictions put on people of color of his time. Lastly, it ties into Exchange because Benjamin Banneker exchanged his ideas, beliefs and inventions in his lifetime and because of those ideas, inventions and beliefs he convinced Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers, to try and aid the colonies in getting rid of slavery. All this because he exchanged his ideas and proved that the African Americans have the mental capabilities of any "white man."