Born somewhere between the ”Slave Coast” of West Africa, present-day Liberia, and the Kingdom of Dahomey, now Benin, Thomas Fuller, became famed as the ”Virginia Calculator”.
Thomas Fuller was taken away from his birth country during the scramble for slaves, sold as a slave and was sent off to Colonial America in 1724 at the age 14.
Despite not being able to read or write, the Virginia Calculator was specially gifted with the ability to give accurate and speedy calculation and for many years, impressed the colonizers.
Fuller’s unique ability enabled him to solve complex math problems in his head.
According to Face2Face Africa, anti-slavery campaigners who noticed his special talent made sure to sell the narrative that Blacks were not inferior to Whites.
Fuller’s talent was much needed, especially at a time when Blacks were considered inferior to Whites.
His skills came from experimental applications around the farm such as counting the hairs on a cow’s tail.
According to Face2Face Africa, when Fuller was 70 years old, he met a businessman who had come with other associates from Pennsylvania just to know more about him.
Fuller was quizzed about how many seconds were in a year and a half, how many seconds had a man lived who is 70 years, 17 days and 12 hours old? When he correctly answered 47,304,000 and 2,210,500,800, respectively, in less than two minutes each time, one of the men raised an objection, saying his own calculations were much smaller.
Fuller quickly responded, ”(Stop), Massa, you forget de leap year”.
After taking into consideration the leap year in their calculations, they agreed with Fuller.
They later submitted Fuller’s computational abilities to the Abolitionist. Fuller died at 80 on the Cox farm near Alexandria, Virginia in 1790.