Benjamin Banneker was a self-educated scientist, astronomer, inventor, writer, and antislavery publicist. He built a striking clock entirely from wood, published a Farmers’ Almanac, and actively campaigned against slavery. He was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science. On November 9 1731, Benjamin Banneker was born in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. He was the descendent of slaves, however, Banneker was born a freeman. At that time the law dictated that if your mother was a slave then you were a slave, and if she was a freewomen then you were a free person. Banneker’s grandmother, Molly Walsh was a bi-racial English immigrant and indentured servant who married an African slave named Banna Ka, who had been brought to the Colonies by a slave trader.