Thomas Fuller: African “slave” and Mathematician

Thomas Fuller was an African, shipped to America as a slave in 1724. He had remarkable powers of calculation, and late in his life was discovered by antislavery campaigners who used him as a demonstration that blacks are not mentally inferior to whites.

The place of his birth appears to have been between present day Liberia and Benin. Known as Negro Tom, we know that he was described as a very black man and also we know that he lived in Virginia after being brought to the United States as a slave. Certainly late in his life he was the property of Elixabeth Coxe of Alexandria.


Thomas Fuller, known as the Virginia Calculator, was stolen from his native Africa at the age of fourteen and sold to a planter. When he was about seventy years old, two gentlemen, natives of Pennsylvania, viz., William Hartshorne and Samuel Coates, men of probity and respectable characters, having heard, in travelling through the neighbourhood in which the slave lived, of his extraordinary powers in arithmetic, sent for him and had their curiosity sufficiently gratified by the answers which he gave to the following questions: First, Upon being asked how many seconds there were in a year and a half, he answered in about two minutes, 47 304 000. Second: On being asked how many seconds a man has lived who is 70 years, 17 days and 12 hours old, he answered in a minute and a half 2 210 500 800. One of the gentlemen who employed himself with his pen in making these calculations told him he was wrong, and the sum was not so great as he had said – upon which the old man hastily replied: stop, master, you forget the leap year. On adding the amount of the seconds of the leap years the amount of the whole in both their sums agreed exactly.


Another question was asked and satisfactorily answered. Before two other gentlemen he gave the amount of nine figures multiplied by nine. … In 1790 he died at the age of 80 years, having never learned to read or write, in spite of his extraordinary power of calculation.


Present day thinking is that Fuller learnt to calculate in Africa before he was brought to the United States as a slave. Supporting evidence for this comes from a passage written by Thomas Clarkson in 1788 describing the purchase of African slaves.

It is astonishing with what facility the African brokers reckon up the exchange of European goods for slaves. One of these brokers has ten slaves to sell , and for each of these he demands ten different articles. He reduces them immediately by the head to bars, coppers, ounces… and immediately strikes the balance. The European, on the other hand, takes his pen, and with great deliberation, and with all the advantage of arithmetic and letters, begin to estimate also. He is so unfortunate, as to make a mistake: but he no sooner errs, than he is detected by this man of inferior capacity, whom he can neither deceive in the name or quality of his goods, nor in the balance of his account.


Despite Fuller’s calculating abilities he was never taught to read or write and again this is evidence that he did not learn to calculate while in the United States. When someone who had witnessed his calculating abilities remarked that it was a pity he had not been educated, Fuller replied: ‘It is best I got no learning; for many learned men be great fools.’


He died on 1790 in Alexandria, Virginia, USA





‘Born In Slavery’: The last American slaves

Sara Grudger, age 121. Sara was a former slave from Burke County, North Carolina. She said: "I never know what it was to rest. I just work all the time from morning till late at night. I had to do everything there was to do on the outside. Work in the field, chop wood, hoe corn, till sometime I feels like my back surely break. I done everything except split rails." May she rest in eternal peace now.:

Sara Grudger, age 121. Sara was a former slave from Burke County, North Carolina. She said: “I never know what it was to rest. I just work all the time from morning till late at night. I had to do everything there was to do on the outside. Work in the field, chop wood, hoe corn, till sometime I feels like my back surely break. I done everything except split rails.” May she rest in eternal peace now.

Read and learn more at The Washington Post

Did You Know? William B. Johnson. The 1st African American Harley-Davidson Dealer

William_B._Johnson1William was both the first African American Harley-Davidson dealer and the first African American licensed to compete in national motorcycle racing events. Johnson signed on with Harley-Davidson sometime in the 1920s, managing during nearly 60 years Johnson’s Harley-Davidson out of a converted blacksmith shop.

Because African Americans were not allowed into the American Motorcyclist Association, the organization that hosted the events, it is said that Johnson was only allowed to join and enter the competitions after he and die-hard fans declared that he was an American Indian.

Some of the first men of color to bond over Harley-Davidson motorcycles were soldiers riding in the name of their country. Some of the first Black bikers in post-war America were soldiers who were assigned to military police positions where they were responsible for monitoring the “colored” sections of segregated bases during World War II. They patrolled on bikes, officials at Harley-Davidson say.

This year, as Harley-Davidson celebrates 110 years, the contributions of African Americans to biking culture are being recognized. Tributes to Johnson, who died at age 95 in 1985, are displayed in Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum, where other notable African-American bikers are enshrined.


– See more at:

Black Family, Love & Marriage



The Aetas, Agta or Ayta are the original black race Africans that lived in scattered, isolated mountainous northern part of the Philippines on the island of Luzon before the Austronesian migration. One theory suggests that the Aeta are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines, who, contrary to their seafaring Austronesian neighbors, arrived through land bridges that linked the islands with the Asian mainland. The Aetas have shown resistance to change. Aetas had little interaction with the Spaniards as they remained in the mountains during the Spanish rule.

There are different views on the dominant character of the Aeta religion. Those who believe they are monotheistic argue that various Aeta tribes believe in a supreme being who rules over lesser spirits or deities, with the Aeta of Mt. Pinatubo worshipping “Apo Na.”  The Aetas are also known to be animists; the Pinatubo Aeta believe in environmental spirits such as anito and kamana. Aeta women are known around the country as experts of the herbal medicines.

Though tradition the Aetas  visual art is body scarification. The Aetas intentionally wound the skin on their back, arms, breast, legs, hands, calves and abdomen, and then they irritate the wounds with fire, lime and other means to form scars.