Banneker Letter
August 30, 1771
Benjamin Banneker, a black astronomer, wrote to Jefferson inquiring about his opinion of blacks’ intellectual equality with whites. Banneker included results of his own scientific research. Jefferson’s response was cordial and flattering of Banneker’s work, but he does not answer Banneker's questions about equality directly.
 
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To Mr. Benjamin Banneker Philadelphia, August 30, 1791 Sir, I Thank you, sincerely, for your letter of the 19th instant, and for the Almanac it contained. No body wishes more than I do, to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men; and that the appearance of the want of them, is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa & America. I can add with truth, that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced, for raising the condition, both of their body and mind, to what it ought to be, as far as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances, which cannot be neglected, will admit.

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