U.S. worries about space aliens and UFOs are older than you think – The Washington Post

Supporters of manumission, or the gradual elimination of slavery, fired some of the first shots in these debates. And they used the work of the Black astronomer Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) to do so. Banneker was largely self-taught. In the 1790s, he calculated ephemerides, predictions about the future positions of the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars over the course of the coming year. Essentially, he produced the building blocks for almanacs that when published would become among the most popular and accurate in the United States. But Banneker did not choose the articles, poems and illustrations that would appear in his almanacs. His White promoters, who were in several cases members of manumission societies, made those selections.

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