Image of Benjamin Banneker, from his Almanac, 1795. Source: Maryland Center for History and Culture.
Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of the 25 public schools named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, although only one — Harvey Milk High School — intentionally honors an LGBT individual. This list includes Benjamin Banneker Public School 256, in Brooklyn.
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), an African-American man, was born near Baltimore, Maryland, to a formerly enslaved man and a freed woman. Largely self-educated, he became adept in a wide variety of endeavors, as a farmer, surveyor, naturalist, astronomer, inventor, engineer, and mathematician. In 1791, Banneker was selected to assist Major Andrew Ellicott in the preliminary survey of the boundaries of what became the nation’s capital city, Washington, D.C. Banneker’s Almanac (1792-97) was an early book written by a Black American man and probably the first such best-seller. Many historians now believe that the unmarried Banneker was gay.