Trivia Questions and Answers
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280 African-American Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about African-American? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to African-American (History). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
1 General James Bethune of Columbus, Ga., bought an enslaved couple in 1850, along with their infant son, Tom, whom this quiz is about. What disability did the son have? It never changed during his life.
Answer: blindness

Tom was originally owned by Wiley Edward Jones and lived on Jones' plantation in Harris County, Georgia, but while he was still an infant, he and his parents, Charity and Domingo "Mingo" Wiggins, were purchased by Bethune. It may have been the luckiest thing to happen to Tom, in his unlucky enslaved life, as we shall see.
  From Quiz: Blind Tom Performs for the President
2 When did the first African American woman graduate from a nursing school in the United States?
Answer: 1879

Mary Eliza Mahoney (April 16, 1845-January 4, 1926) became the first African American professionally trained nurse in 1879.
Mahoney entered the New England Hospital for Women Training School for nurses in 1878, along with 40 other students. What followed was an extremely challenging and grueling 16 weeks of intensive training. Mahoney completed the course and was only one of four of her classmates to graduate and become a nurse.
  From Quiz: Historical African American Firsts
3 Madame C.J. Walker became America's first self-made female millionaire in 1910. What item or items lead to her accomplishment?
Answer: beauty and hair products for black women

Madame C.J. Walker created, manufactured, and distributed a line of hair care and beauty products, specifically designed for African American women, which took her from very humble beginnings to being acknowledged as the first self-made female American in America.

As a young woman, Sarah Breedlove suffered from a condition that resulted in her loosing much of her hair. When she discovered that the traditional remedies of the time were ineffective in addressing her problem, she started experimenting with different solutions and concoctions until discovering one that solved her problem.

This lead to the mass production of her formula which she marketed. Along with her husband Charles Joseph Walker, they traveled the country, selling her products door to door and at social functions and gatherings. She marketed her product using her married name, forming the Madame C.J. Walker Company.

She trained other African American women in her process, opened a beauty school, and hired hundreds of women throughout the country as her sales agents, providing them with the opportunity to earn a decent income at a time when there were few jobs available for Black women other than domestic service jobs.

Madame C.J. Walker was recognized as a successful entrepreneur, a generous philanthropist, and a political activist for the rights of women throughout the nation. She believed strongly in "giving back" to her community, donating large sums of her money to worthy charities and causes, and community projects.
  From Quiz: Potpourri of Historic African American Firsts
4 What was the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Oklahoma also known as in 1921?
Answer: Black Wall Street

  From Quiz: The 1921 Greenwood Massacre
5 When did Rosa Parks refuse to move out of her seat on the bus?
Answer: December 1955

This was a protest against the fact that "Blacks" had to surrender their designated seats at the back of the bus to "Whites" who had nowhere else to sit.
  From Quiz: The Montgomery Bus Boycott
6 The Tulsa riots were a confrontation between some of the white community of Tulsa, Oklahoma and the nearby black community of Greenwood. What best describes Greenwood just prior to the riots?
Answer: It was fairly prosperous

The black community of Greenwood was fairly prosperous, benefitting from the oil boom in the Tulsa area. The community had its own doctors, dentists, stores and movie theaters. Instead of being isolated, the community had many members who worked (mainly in domestic labor) in the nearby white community (according to Tim Madigan of "The Burning"). Greenwood was also distinguished among other black communities by its relative prosperity.
  From Quiz: The Tulsa Race Riots
7 Fifteen jockeys rode in the very first Kentucky Derby. How many of the fifteen were African-American?
Answer: 13

The inaugural Derby was won by a colt named Aristides. On that Saturday in May, Aristides was ridden by 19 year old, Oliver Lewis. Lewis was one of thirteen Black jockeys that rode in the Derby that Saturday, May 17, 1895. During that time most of the jockeys and handlers of race horses were Black. After his racing career, Lewis became sort of a racetrack tout. He was a bookmaker (which was legal in those days), and he also developed the first handicapping tables along with the first racing forms. Lewis was married and the father of six children. He died in 1924, in Lexington, Kentucky.
  From Quiz: African-American Hodgepodge
8 In 1870 what state elected the first African American to be seated as a Representative in the United States Congress?
Answer: South Carolina

Joseph H. Rainey was born in 1832 in Georgetown, South Carolina. Born to slave parents, Mr. Rainey was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican during the forty-first Congress of the United States. Rainey worked tirelessly to protect the civil rights of Southern Blacks but to no avail. He also spoke out against the infamous, Ku Klux Klan during his tenure. Joseph Rainey was elected to five terms in Congress. After leaving in March of 1879, Rainey was appointed internal-revenue agent of South Carolina. He served in the appointment until July of 1881. He then went on to Washington D.C. where he engaged in banking and the brokerage business. He died in the place where he was born, Georgetown, South Carolina.
  From Quiz: African American Leaders and Trailblazers
9 Who was the first African American to serve as the United States Secretary of State?
Answer: Colin Powell

General Colin Powell served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from January 20, 2001 until January 26, 2005, in the administration of President George W. Bush.
Powell became the highest ranking African American in the executive branch of the government, and was the highest ranking African American in the history of the United States military. As a four-star general in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Adviser (1987-1989) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 until 1993.
  From Quiz: More African American Firsts
10 Billie Holliday, also known as "Lady Day", was one of the greatest jazz musicians of the 20th century. She is best known for the song "God Bless the Child" and also "Strange Fruit". What was this 'strange fruit' a metaphor for?
Answer: The lynching of African Americans

Billie Holliday's life was made into a film in the 1972 entitled, "Lady Sings the Blues". The film featured Motown star Diana Ross of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Holliday's life story was depicted brilliantly and gave insight into her abuse of heroin. Holliday paved the way for many jazz, blues, gospel and rhythm and blues singers of future generations.
  From Quiz: They Put the Black in Black History
11 Who was the first African American Supreme Court Justice?
Answer: Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall became the first African American Supreme Court Justice in 1967. He served until 1991.
  From Quiz: African American Firsts
12 Who didn't give up their seat to a white man on a Montgomery Bus in 1955?
Answer: Rosa Parks

This was the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama.
  From Quiz: Black History
13 In what year was the Black Panther Party founded?
Answer: 1966

The BPP was orginally formed to patrol the black community and protect residents from police brutality. They eventually turned into a revolutionary group that called for the arming of black people, the exemption of black people from drafts, compensation for black people, etc.
  From Quiz: Black Panther Party
14 Which two members co-founded the Black Panther Party?
Answer: Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton

The BPP was founded in Oakland, California where both Newton and Seale went to college.
    Your options: [ Bobby Seale and Elmer Pratt ] [ Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton ] [ Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver ] [ Eldridge Cleaver and H. Rap Brown ]
  From Quiz: History of the Black Panthers
15 What year did the first Africans arrive in the Americas?
Answer: 1526

The first Africans arrived in the Americas between 1526-39, in the company of Spanish and Portuguese explorers.
  From Quiz: African-American History Dates
16 The first Jim Crow law segregated train passengers. Where was it passed?
Answer: Tennessee

The main purpose of such laws was to keep blacks from carrying firearms or gathering in groups.
  From Quiz: African-American History #1
17 What famous American was presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson in December 1963?
Answer: Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was the highest American official in the U.N. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, the first African-American to do so.
  From Quiz: African-American History
18 Which person was born in Massachusetts, was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D from Harvard and wrote 'Souls of Black Folk'?
Answer: W.E.B. DuBois

He also helped found the NAACP, along with Ida B. Wells, in 1911. He advocated the idea of the 'Talented Tenth' and believed that social and political equality was more important than economic equality.
    Your options: [ Booker T. Washington ] [ Ida B. Wells ] [ Martin Luther King, Jr. ] [ W.E.B. DuBois ]
  From Quiz: AAE: Important Dates In History
19 Whose refusal to give up her seat on a public bus sparked a boycott of Montgomery, AL buses from 1955-1956?
Answer: Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man which resulted in a remarkable boycott of Montgomery buses which was led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  From Quiz: African-American History
20 In what year was the Congressional Black Caucus organized?
Answer: 1971

Mordecai W Johnson was the founder of this orgenization.
  From Quiz: Food For Your Brain
21 Who was the first colonist slain in the Boston Massacre?
Answer: Crispus Attucks

Attucks was a free Bostonian of African descent.
  From Quiz: Black History
22 Who is the author of "Notes of a Native Son"?
Answer: James Baldwin

Baldwin wrote in many literary genres: novels, plays and poetry, often using fictionalized stories to discuss personal as well as social issues. "Notes of a Native Son", which was published in 1955, is a collection of ten of his essays regarding black life in America and Europe and the characterizations of black protagonists in literature, going all the way back to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
  From Quiz: Black History Month Primer
23 As a toddler, Tom in his slave cabin copied the sounds he heard and banged pots and pans to make more sounds, but what life-threatening activity caused trouble and wasn't acceptable?
Answer: he injured his siblings to hear them scream

Tom seemed unable to distinguish between a human crying in pain, a clattering basin or a rooster crowing. It was all the same to him--more lovely sounds--but when he put his younger siblings at serious risk, something needed done.
  From Quiz: Blind Tom Performs for the President
24 What US Supreme Court decision created the legal fiction of "separate but equal"?
Answer: Plessy vs Ferguson

Plessy vs Ferguson (163 US 537) was an 1896 decision regarding railroad transportation. Homer Plessy, a New Orleans resident, was required to ride in a "blacks only" car under Louisiana law. Plessy challenged the law based on the 14th Amendment, and lost. Southern states used the ruling for decades to justify racially discriminatory policies, especially segregated schools. It was the law of the land until the court overturned it in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.
Dred Scott was the 1857 case which justified slavery by giving African-Americans second class legal status, and was a key reason the Civil War began. Santa Clara is an 1886 case that created the legal fiction of corporate personhood. Korematsu was the 1944 case that justified the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
  From Quiz: The Nadir of Race Relations
25 In what year did the music Grammy Awards television broadcast first feature an African American host?
Answer: 2005

In 2005, Rap Artist, actresses, and commercial spokesperson Dana Owens, better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, became the first ever African American Grammy Awards ceremony host as she hosted the 47th Grammy Awards on live television from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on February 13th.

The Grammy Awards started in 1959, but was not televised until 1971. Prior to 1971, Grammy Awards dinner were held, usually in two or three major cities, on the same day, and the award presentations were made.

As the eighth artist ever selected to host the event, Queen Latifah joined the ranks of performers such as Andy Williams, John Denver, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rosie O'Donnell.

The show was broadcast for 21 years with a single party serving as host.

Queen Latifah (Dana Owens) was born on March 18,1970. As a performer, Queen Latifah's numerous award acknowledgements includes six Grammy Award nominations, a Grammy Award in 1993 for "Best Rap Solo Performer" for her single "U.N.I.T.Y", an Academy Awards nomination in 2003 for "Chicago", and an Emmy Award nomination in2007 for the television movie "Life Support".
  From Quiz: Historical African American Firsts
26 1823 saw Alexander Twilight gain his place in African American History. What event marked his historic first in American history?
Answer: received a degree from an American college

In 1823, Alexander Lucius Twilight (1794-1859) became the first African American to earn a degree from any college or university in the United States.

Twilight received his Bachelor's Degree after graduation from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.

Ironically, this fact did not become widely known until 1826, when Amherst College in Massachusetts claimed to have conferred the first Bachelor's degree to Edward Jones, an African American student.

Post graduation, Alexander Twilight enjoyed careers as an educator, a minister, and subsequently became the first African American elected to Vermont General Assembly.
  From Quiz: Potpourri of Historic African American Firsts
27 Why did Dick Rowland, who worked as a shoe shiner at a Main Street shine parlor enter the Drexel Building?
Answer: He was going to the "colored" restroom on the top floor

Separate but equal? Sarah Page, being a young white woman, would not have even spoken to Dick Rowland.
  From Quiz: The 1921 Greenwood Massacre
28 What was the name of the bus driver who ordered Parks to give up her seat? A name he shares with a professional tennis player.
Answer: James Blake

When Parks refused, Blake called the police and she was arrested. This was not the first time Parks had been in trouble with the police, as she was a civil rights activist.
  From Quiz: The Montgomery Bus Boycott
29 At the time of the riots, the Ku Klux Klan was active in the Tulsa area. The KKK enjoyed positive publicity from a movie that played all over the United States. What was that movie?
Answer: "Birth of a Nation"

"Birth of a Nation", released in 1915, portrayed members of the KKK as "righteous avengers". In this movie, KKK members pursue and lynch a black man, Gus, who had attacked a white woman named Little Sister. The movie was very popular and helped to increase the membership of the KKK.
  From Quiz: The Tulsa Race Riots
30 Which famous boxer grew up in Prince George's County?
Answer: Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard grew up in Palmer Park, Maryland, which still had a boxing studio in 2007. Leonard was a talented boxer as a teenager, and he earned a Golden Gloves championship before entering Parkdale High School in the mid-1970s.
    Your options: [ Sugar Ray Leonard ] [ Mike Tyson ] [ Muhammad Ali ] [ Larry Holmes ]
  From Quiz: Afro-American History in P.G. County, MD
31 What state would you visit if you wanted to tour The Penn Center, one of the first Southern schools for freed slaves?
Answer: South Carolina

Penn Center is South Carolina's only nationally registered, Historic Black landmark. Located on St. Helena's Island (you've got to read about this island), the school was incorporated in 1862 as Penn School, but has since undergone several name changes. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous, 'I Have a Dream' speech while lodging at the Penn Center.
  From Quiz: African-American Hodgepodge
32 Charles Evers was elected Mayor in the same state where his brother was assassinated, Mississippi. What town elected Evers Mayor?
Answer: Fayette

In 1969 Charles Evers ran for and won the office of Mayor of Fayette, Mississippi. In doing so he was the first Black man since the Reconstruction to become Mayor of a racially mixed Southern town. He was elected again in 1973 but lost his bid in 1978. Charles Evers was the older brother to Medgar Evers, until Medgar was brutally assassinated outside his home in 1963. Upon Medgar's death, Charles took over his role as field director of the Mississippi N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In 1989 Mr. Evers became affiliated with the Republican party. You can read more about him in, "Have No Fear," his autobiography.
  From Quiz: African American Leaders and Trailblazers
33 Who was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Answer: Ralph J. Bunche

Bunche was a political scientist and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in Palestine in the late 1940s that lead to an armistice agreement between the Jews and Arabs in the region.
Bunche was also instrumental in the preliminary planning of the United Nations in 1944. He was also an adviser to the U.S. delegation for the "Charter Conference" of the United Nations held in 1948.
  From Quiz: More African American Firsts
34 In 1954, Brown vs the Board of Education demolished the legal basis of segregation in schools and public places. What was the name of the case that had originally put these practices in place?
Answer: Plessy vs Ferguson

The Plessy decision set the precedent that "separate" facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were "equal." The "separate but equal" doctrine was quickly extended to cover many areas of public life, such as restaurants, theaters, restrooms, and public schools. Not until 1954, in the equally important Brown v. Board of Education decision, would the "separate but equal" doctrine be struck down.
  From Quiz: They Put the Black in Black History
35 Which Ivy League college was the first to employ an African American as president?
Answer: Brown

Ruth Simmons became president of Brown University in 2001 and in doing so became the first African American Ivy League college president.
    Your options: [ Columbia ] [ Yale ] [ Brown ] [ Harvard ]
  From Quiz: African American Firsts
36 Who gave the "I have a dream" speech?
Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr.

He gave this speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on 28 August 1963 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968.
  From Quiz: Black History
37 Which president met Frederick Douglass with the words, "Here comes my friend Douglass" at a reception in the White House?
Answer: Abraham Lincoln

Although Douglass had differences in opinion with Lincoln, Douglass endorsed the president in both elections with his newspaper and on the lecture circuit. They met several times before Lincoln, worried that the Civil War could not be won, asked Douglass to make evacuation plans for blacks in the South in case the war was lost to the Confederacy. Of course, the plans were never put into operation. The White House reception took place after the war had been won by the North.
    Your options: [ Abraham Lincoln ] [ Andrew Johnson ] [ James Buchanan ] [ Ulysses S. Grant ]
  From Quiz: African Americans in Maryland History
38 What was the date the BPP and police officers had a shoot-out which left Huey Newton wounded and charged with killing a police officer?
Answer: October 28, 1967

Huey Newton was found guilty one year later of voluntary manslaughter.
    Your options: [ November 1, 1966 ] [ October 28, 1966 ] [ October 28, 1967 ] [ November 1, 1967 ]
  From Quiz: Black Panther Party
39 Which future Panther wrote "Soul on Ice" while in prison?
Answer: Eldridge Cleaver

After returning to the US following an exile to Algeria, Cleaver became a registered Republican. He also claimed that Fidel Castro had been castrated.
    Your options: [ Bobby Seale ] [ Eldridge Cleaver ] [ Huey P. Newton ] [ H. Rap Brown ]
  From Quiz: History of the Black Panthers
40 What year was slavery introduced in the Americas?
Answer: 1619

North America's first slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619.
  From Quiz: African-American History Dates
The rest of the questions and answers can be found in our quizzes here:
African-American Quizzes