When hired by America's Geographer General ,Major Andrew Ellicott, Banneker became a member of the very first presidential appointed team in the history of America. This was a natural sequence in the course of events in Banneker's life however, because he was a man of many firsts.
The year was 1791 when historic milestones were made. Members of the surveying and planning team were, in fact, laying the foundation for the new nation's capital.
Banneker first gained notoriety in 1753, when at age 22, he designed a wooden clock deferred to as the very first clock made entirely of indigenous parts. The clock struck every hour, on the hour, for over fifty years.
People would travel from far and near to witness Banneker's clock. Over the years, he would continue to demonstrate his genius as a scientist, mathematician, farmer, astronomer, surveyor, engineer, Abolitionist, planner, and publisher of almanacs;in addition to his crowning professional achievement in working with Major Andrew Ellicott, Major Charles Pierre L'Enfant and the three Commissioners [Daniel Carroll, Dr. David Stuart, and Thomas Johnson] appointed by America'sFounding President, George Washington, to establish the nation's capitol.
L'Enfant Plaza/Benjamin Banneker Memorial Site
WIC is charged with raising $25 million to erect a 14 foot, heroic sized Statue, Founding Architect's Visitors Center, 30-40 foot Tower Clock and Historic Exhibits within the confines of a beautifully landscaped cultural park setting, perfectly sandwiched between the Mall and the waterfront.
Once the renovation of the site is finalized, replete with new lush landscaping, overhead canopy, benches, trees, new lighting, outdoor cafes, street level retail shops, an open vista to Smithsonian Castle [facilitated by WIC's recommended, and approved, removal of the obstructive sections of the U.S. Dept. of Energy building], Astronomical Art and other amenities, the L'Enfant Plaza corridor will serve as the connective cultural gateway between the Mall and the newly renovated world class waterfront slated for completion no later than the year 2010.
The L'Enfant Plaza renovation was facilitated by WIC as a result of successfully lobbying the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, under the aegis of its TEA21 program, to underwrite the renewal.
WIC currently serves as a member of the Oversight Committee on the L'Enfant Plaza renovation currently underway.
The agency will unveil its prototype model of the Banneker Memorial during Banneker's birth month, November, of 2006.
Afterwards, WIC will begin its campaign for design approval before the U.S. Fine Arts Commission, the final major approval process mandated under the tenets of the 1984 Commemorative Works Act, the legislative protocol governing the nation's commemorative process.
Copyright, Washington Interdependence Council, 2012