Quiz about African American Leaders and Trailblazers
Quiz about African American Leaders and Trailblazers

African American Leaders and Trailblazers Quiz

This quiz was designed to introduce you to a few of the great African-American trailblazers. These people made enormous strides to advance all humanity.

A multiple-choice quiz by SmogLover. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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5 mins
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
5 / 10
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 185 (3/10), Guest 107 (3/10), Guest 94 (2/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. In 1870 what state elected the first African American to be seated as a Representative in the United States Congress? Hint

South Carolina
New York

2. Charles Evers was elected Mayor in the same state where his brother was assassinated, Mississippi. What town elected Evers Mayor? Hint


3. Robert Weaver became the first Black cabinet member of a United States President. Which President appointed him? Hint

Lyndon B. Johnson
William J. Clinton
Abraham Lincoln
John F. Kennedy

4. Mary McLeod Bethune organized the "Black Cabinet" for which president? Hint

Calvin Coolidge
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Herbert Hoover
William Harding

5. Who was the first Black female member of Congress? Hint

Alexa Canady
Edith Irby Jones
Barbara Jordan
Shirley Chisholm

6. Who was the first Black female to become a national news commentator? Hint

Hazel Johnson Brown
Juanita Kidd Stout
Ethel L. Payne
Elaine Jones

7. Patricia Roberts Harris had a few firsts in history. Which of the following was just one of them? Hint

First Black female General of the United States Army
First Black female neurosurgeon in the United States
First Black female head of the Girl Scouts of America
First Black woman to serve in the United Nations

8. Who was the first woman of any race to preach/speak at London's Saint Paul's Cathedral at a service?

Barbara Harris
Reverend Gertrude Brown
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie
Coretta Scott King

9. Who was the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize? Hint

Julian Bond
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ralph Bunche
Mike Espy

10. Who was first to advocate "Black is beautiful"? Hint

Stokely Carmichael
Malcolm X
Angela Davis
Eldridge Cleaver

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Robert Weaver became the first Black cabinet member of a United States President. Which President appointed him?

Answer: Lyndon B. Johnson

President Johnson created the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1966 and named Robert C. Weaver as its Secretary. Mr. Weaver then became the first Black presidential cabinet official. Born in Washington D.C., Mr. Weaver served until 1968 as Secretary of HUD (Housing and Urban Development). Upon leaving the position he became president of Baruch College, then he went on to become a professor of Urban Affairs at Hunter college. Mr. Weaver is a published author in the field of housing. You can find these works, "The Urban Complex: Human Values in Urban Life" and "Dilemmas of Urban America" as well as others by Mr. Weaver. Secretary Weaver passed away in 1997, and in 2000 the HUD headquarters building was renamed, The Robert C. Weaver Federal Building.
4. Mary McLeod Bethune organized the "Black Cabinet" for which president?

Answer: Franklin D. Roosevelt

In an effort to reach out to all Americans and try and bring about workable solutions to problems after the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Mrs. Bethune to gather Black men and women that could easily communicate with average people and find out what their needs and grievances were.

The group was first known as The Office of Negro Affairs. It was later changed to the Black Cabinet. They weren't actual members of the president's cabinet, they were his Black brains trust. The group went all over the country to make their findings, then report back to President Roosevelt. Members of the group included, Ralph Bunche, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, Eugene K. Jones, Rayford Logan, Robert C. Weaver, Joseph R. Houchins, Truman K Gibson, Jr., William Henry Hastie, and Walter White.

Although this group were official civil servants, they were not welcomed at the White House. Mrs. Bethune however, was a frequent visitor because of her friendship with Mrs. Roosevelt. Mrs. Bethune a well-known educator, later became the founder of Bethune-Cookman College in Florida.

She also founded the National Council of Negro Women, which still operates today. Mrs. Bethune also became the first Black woman to head a federal agency. She was also the first black woman to be honored with a statue in Washington D.C., as well as having her image on a U.S. Postage Stamp.
5. Who was the first Black female member of Congress?

Answer: Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in 1924 as the oldest of four daughters. Her parents were both West Indies immigrants who settled in New York. After her extensive education and early life working in the New York child care industry, the then Mrs. Chisholm turned to politics. In 1968 her political pursuits garnered her the position of being the first Black female Congresswoman in the United States. Mrs. Chisholm quickly rose to become one of the greatest female orators in the country. Shirley Chisholm was noted for her support of children's welfare, women's rights, her advocacy of legsislation to benefit those in poverty, and her opposition to the Vietnam war. In fact, when Congresswoman Chisholm made her first speech before the House of Representatives she proudly declared her intentions to, "vote No on every money bill that comes to the floor of this House that provides any funds for the Department of Defense." In 1972 running on the Democratic ticket, Mrs. Chisholm became the first Black woman to run for the office of President of the United States of America. Mrs. Chisholm won more than 150 delegate votes and paved the way for other people of color to seek political offices as high as they dared. Congresswoman Chisholm died in the winter of 2005 and was given a state funeral but never received her rightful place in U.S. History.

"Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal." - Congresswoman Shirley A. Chisholm
6. Who was the first Black female to become a national news commentator?

Answer: Ethel L. Payne

Ethel L. Payne became the chief of the Washington D.C. bureau of the Chicago Defender in 1954. Mrs. Payne, known as the, "First Lady of the Black Press", worked for the Chicago African-American paper for 27 years before going to Washington. Her years of reporting covered such major civil rights movements as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Central High School desegregation, as well as the March on Washington in 1963. Mrs. Payne also covered the war in Vietnam from the perspective of the Black soldiers. In 1972 Mrs. Payne became the first African-American woman to work for a national radio and television organization when CBS hired her as a commentator. She worked at CBS for ten years. Mrs. Payne also advocated the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Known for her no holds barred style of questions, Mrs. Payne advanced the civil rights movement when she posed a question to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mrs. Payne asked when the he planned to ban segregation in interstate travel. The exchange made news when President Eisenhower angrily replied that he refused to support special interests. Mrs. Payne died in 1991 and in 2002 a commerative block of stamps was issued by the United States Postal Service to honor four female journalists: Nellie Bly, Marguerite Higgins, Ethel L. Payne, and Ida M. Tarbell.

"I fought all of my life to bring about change, to correct injustices and the inequalities in the system." - Ethel L. Payne
7. Patricia Roberts Harris had a few firsts in history. Which of the following was just one of them?

Answer: First Black woman to serve in the United Nations

In 1965, Harris blazed a trail for African-American women when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed her, U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. The first ever to hold such a position in the United Nations. In 1969 Mrs. Harris became the first Black woman to become dean of her college alma mater's law school, Howard University in the District of Columbia.

She didn't remain as dean of the Howrad Law School for long. In 1970 she became a corporate attorney and served on the board of such companies as IBM and Chase Manhattan Bank.

In 1977 President Jimmy Carter selected her as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. That's right! She was the first African-American woman to hold such a position in a president's cabinet. Mrs. Harris also served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1979. Patricia Roberts Harris was honored as part of the, African American Heritage Collection of commerative stamps, issued by the United States Postal Service.

She died in March of 1985.
8. Who was the first woman of any race to preach/speak at London's Saint Paul's Cathedral at a service?

Answer: Coretta Scott King

Mrs. Coretta Scott King is indeed a woman to be admired. Her biography makes an interesting read. She was already into civil rights when she met Martin Luther King, Jr.. While he preferred her to be more of a housewife than an activist during their marriage, after his death she carried on his struggle. Along with civil rights for Blacks and other people of color, she also fought for the civil rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender human beings.

She even supported the rights of animals by becoming a vegan. Coretta Scott King was the first woman to deliver the class day address at Harvard University.

She was also the first woman ever to speak at a statutory service at Saint Paul's Cathedral. Coretta Scott King walked with kings and dialogued with heads of state from around the world, she met top religious leaders including Pope John Paul and the Dalai Lama.

She received honorary degrees from more than sixty colleges and universites. She fought for her husband's legal United States holiday and in 1986 she finally got it when President Ronald Reagan signed legislature making January 15th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Coretta Scott King passed away in January of 2006 and the world lost a precious gem. Mrs. King became the first woman and the first Black person to lie in state in the Rotunda of the state of Georgia's Capitol.
9. Who was the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Answer: Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1904. However due to health issues of both parents the family moved to New Mexico for the climate. His parents both died within two years and Ralph's grandmother moved him and his two sisters to Los Angeles. Ralph was a brilliant child and athletic as well.

He graduated class valedictorian from Jefferson High School and went on to graduate, summa cum laude, from the University of California (UCLA) in 1927. Bunche had an extensive and praise-worthy education which linked him to such schools as Harvard, Howard and Swarthmore. Bunches views on the civil rights movement caused people to classify him as a moderate. Though he was active in the movement he never organized any programs of his own.

He did help Martin Luther King, Jr. organize the march in Montgomery in 1965.

He declined the offer to become assistant secretary of state in the Truman administration, because of housing segregation in the District of Columbia. Mr. Bunche was however, a member of President Roosevelt's brain trust known as the "Black Cabinet".

The Black Cabinet was a fact finding group of Black men and women that went across America seeking the conditions and views of the public as a result of the Depression. Bunche's name has been linked with the United Nations since 1946 when, UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie, brought him into the United Nations', Department of Trusteeship. The purpose of this department of the UN was to handle problems of the world's peoples who had not yet attained self-government. In 1948 after the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN appointed mediator of the Arab and Israeli conflagration, Bunche was named acting mediator on Palestine. It took him eleven months to secure signatures of armistice agreements from both sides of the conflict. For his efforts in securing peace in Palestine, Ralph Johnson Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. He became the first Black man to earn such an honor.
10. Who was first to advocate "Black is beautiful"?

Answer: Malcolm X

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska but his father later moved the family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and later to Lansing, Michigan. After his father's death and his mother's committal to an insane asylum, the children was split and sent to foster care. Malcolm overcame this issue and managed to graduate at the top of his Junior High class. However, he ended his education there; Malcolm dreamed of becoming a lawyer until a teacher told him that that was "no realistic goal for a nigger". Little, nicknamed "Red" because of his hair, then drifted from the Midwest to the east, committing petty crimes along the way. He was sent to Massachusetts State Prison for eight to ten years for grand larceny and breaking and entering. While there he was known as "Satan" because he espoused so much hatred for God, the Bible and religion. However, he developed a passion for reading further increasing his knowledge and brilliance. While in prison his brother introduced him to the Nation of Islam and he began corresponding with Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam. When Little was released in 1952 he went to Chicago and met with Elijah Muhammad. He later changed his name to Malcolm X, symbolizing his having no base for a name in this country. That his name was just a slave name and not of his African heritage. An "X" was also the brand that many slaves received on their arm. The change caused many in the Nation of Islam to follow suit. Malcolm advocated Black awareness vehemently and taught the principle that, "Black is beautiful". Upon the death of President Kennedy, X remarked that it was "chickens coming home to roost". He further remarked that "Chickens coming home to roost never made him sad. It only made him glad". Elijah Muhammad silenced X for 3 months following his remarks about Kennedy. Malcolm split from the Nation of Islam in 1964 and founded the Muslim Mosque, Inc.. He later went on a pilgrimage to Mecca where his attitude about people changed. He became a proponent of brotherly love and understanding. All the time the rift between Malcolm and Muhammad grew larger and larger. His home was firebombed on Valentine's Day of 1965 and on February 21, 1965, while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in New York, three gunmen blasted 16 shots into Malcolm X, as his wife and children looked on.

Malcolm's wife was Betty Shabazz, Malcolm took the name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz after his pilgrimage to Mecca and completion of the Hajj.
Source: Author SmogLover

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