Quad Cities Campus

I am inspired by:

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)

Benjamin Banneker was a free-born descendant of slaves who became a famous 18th-century astronomer, mathematician and surveyor. He is considered by many to be the first African-American scientist. While largely self-taught in astronomy and mathematics, he assisted in the surveying of territory for the construction of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. He published a series of almanacs from 1792-1797 which included his own astronomical calculations, literature and medical and tidal information.

When I was a kid, it was important to my parents to help me understand my own heritage and history. My mother would buy me these comic books which illustrated the lives of different African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean heroes, inventors, and slaves and these always captured my attention in understanding the role of education, the courage displayed by the oppressed, and how the many things we use in our lives today were impacted by those of my race. I firmly remember Benjamin Banneker's cover page and the display of a large clock. You see, he constructed a wooden clock that was reputed to keep accurate time and ran for more than 50 years until his death. This innovation and brilliance inspired me to go beyond my own capacities in what I learned in school and to believe that I could go as far as my mind would take me. Education is freedom and knowledge is power. These gifts allow us to go further than the capacities we sometimes limit ourselves to and it is these same gifts that inspire me to encourage students to find themselves and their limitless capacities in the world that surrounds them.

Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler

Academic Advisor
WIU-Quad Cities

Benjamin Banneker

“The Color of the skin is in no way connected with strength of the mind or intellectual powers.”

~ Benjamin Banneker