Meet Thomas Fuller, black slave who was known as a human calculator

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History has it that, a black slave by name Thomas Fuller, who is believed to have originated from Benin or Liberia was a mathematics genius. His mathematical prowess left slave masters in awe.

At age 14 years, he was stolen from Africa and sold to a white planter. He was nicknamed the ‘Virginia calculator’. He had the tendency to compute very complex calculations offhead.

At an old age of 70, two white folks, William Hartshorne and Samuel Coates, both men of good reputations decided to put Thomas to test.

Firstly, Thomas was asked how many seconds there was in a year and half. In just two minutes, he gave the answer as 47,304,000. Surprised at the answer, they moved to the second.

Thomas was asked how many seconds there was for a man who had lived for 70 years, 17 days and 12 hours.

As usual, he gave the answer as 2,210,500,800 seconds in less than 2 minutes. He was however challenged this time, as a white gentleman who had writing and calculating aids had a different figure from his.

Thomas hastily replied him by saying ” stop master, you forgot the leap year”. To their surprise, their result tallied with that of Thomas’s after adding the leap year.

He died at age 80, and for a man of his caliber who had no knowledge in numeracy nor literacy, one can say his gift was out of this world.

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