Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history.

Benjamin Banneker Public School 256, in Brooklyn, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

Header Photo
Credit: Gothamist.


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.

Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (February 2021).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: unknown
  • Year Built: 1959


  1. “Benjamin Banneker,” Friends of Benjamin Banneker, bit.ly/3jma3hi.

  2. “Building of the Day: 77 Clinton Avenue,” Brownstoner, bit.ly/2YDwzbM.

  3. Library of Congress, “Benjamin Banneker,” Library of Congress, bit.ly/36W8OjZ.

  4. Stephen A. Maglott, “Benjamin Banneker,” The Ubuntu Biography Project, bit.ly/3oRPTwQ.

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