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Letter printed in article form to Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker in the Greenfield Gazette newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Benjamin Banneker was a primarily self-taught scientist, mathematician, astronomer, surveyor, farmer and almanac author. In 1792, he sent a copy of his first almanac to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson along with this letter. In it, Banneker acknowledges that Jefferson agrees that "we are all of the same family, and stand in the same relation to Him", but Banneker reminds him that Americans once fought for freedom from England and for the unalienable rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and yet some, including Jefferson, are guilty of owning slaves. Banneker recommends to Jefferson and all other whites to "wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to them, and as Job proposed to his friends, 'put your soul in their souls instead."


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