"Herein breathes the universal genius Benjamin Banneker -- mathematician, astronomer, diarist, and sage.
Biographer Charles Cerami mines the available data, eschews the apocryphal, and renders his subject human. Captured completely is the flowering genius of a largely home-schooled boy wonder, exhibiting mathematical wizardry while devouring the Bible, Plato, Epictetus, and virtually every other extant tome. The fabled memory that could have reproduced L Enfant s plan for the entire District of Columbia becomes palpable and real.
We understand how the pragmatic farmer who was imbued with Quaker ideology endured decades of ignominious racism with overt equanimity while haunted by incessant night terrors. We comprehend the heroism of the man whose very existence refuted Thomas Jefferson s notorious public denial of black intellect in Notes on Virginia when, speaking truth to power, Banneker launched an anti-slavery epistle at the ambivalent and duplicitous Jefferson. We are enraged at the account of arsonists setting fire on the day of Banneker s funeral to the small, rustic log cabin where the genius had labored in solitude among his instruments, papers, and books. We are grateful to Charles Cerami, who has resurrected the spirit of a neglected giant and gifted us with a biography nearly two centuries overdue."
"Like Benjamin Banneker, Charles Cerami presents the product of his research in a modest yet compelling manner. Cerami engagingly writes about both Banneker the genius and Banneker the man a thought-provoking read." --Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D., Professor of Art, Howard University, and coauthor of Hidden in Plain View: A Secret story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad