Thomas Fuller, an African who was sold into slavery in 1724, is sometimes referred to as the Virginia Calculator because he was so good at solving extraordinary math problems in his head.
Rumors spread that he was a scholar. However, he could neither read nor write, which was common among slaves at that time.
Some believe that he may have acquired mathematical skills in his African homeland. His case was frequently cited by the abolitionists of the time as proof that black people were no less inferior to whites. Fuller was born somewhere between what is now Liberia and Benin in Africa. he was enslaved and sent to America in 1724 at the age of 14.
Eventually became the official property of Presley and Elizabeth Cox of Alexandria, Virginia. Both Fuller and Cox were illiterate. The colas had 16 slaves and was apparently most valued by Fuller; he thanks that it hasn't been sold yet. There are many stories about his craft on the east coast.
His abilities were even used as proof that blacks who were enslaved had the same intelligence as white people, which sparked some debate about abolitionists. When Fuller was about 70 years old, William Hartshorn and Samuel Coates from Pennsylvania were in Alexandria and when they heard about Fuller's army they sent him.
They asked two questions that satisfied their curiosity. First, when asked how many seconds in a year and a half, he answered about two minutes, 47, 304, 000. Second, when they asked how many seconds a person lives 70 years, 17 days, and 12 years. When he was an hour old, he answered 2, 210, 500, 800 after a minute and a half.
One of the men solves the problem on paper and tells Fuller he is wrong because the answer is much smaller. Fuller replied hastily, "Great, table, you forgot leap years."
When leap years are added, the numbers match. Despite Fuller's perfect answer, Hartshorn and Coates seemed to think that his mental abilities must have been greater.