Black History Month — By Margie Hill

Black History Month is a time to acquire new knowledge, review old knowledge, and share knowledge with those who simply don’t know. To study the history of African Americans is to study the history of the world, the history of all peoples, and the history of an oppressed yet overcoming people. So today, let us challenge each other, to see how much we know and how much we yet have to learn. This week our focus is African American culture, the realm of books, literature, art, music, television, and drama.
Questions
1. Who wrote the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God , which was included on Time magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923?
2. He grew up with a white Jewish mother and an African American father and became an author who wrote Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, and Black Betty. What is his name?
3. Known for his social and political views, who published The Souls of Black Folks in 1903?
4. In addition to her outstanding career as a singer, what was Marian Anderson appointed to by President Dwight D. Eisenhower?
5. This first Gloria Naylor novel consisted of tales from seven black women who wound up on a dead-end street in a ghetto in the North. It was made into a television movie. What is the name of the novel?
6. What New York City library houses rare collections of Black culture?
7. What Black American took jazz vocals to a new level and was called “The Divine One” because of her range and effortless mastery of the intricacies of music?
8. In 1926 the Soul Stirrers were the first gospel quartet to add a second lead to solo over the usual four-part harmony. In 1950 what singer joined this group?
9. Currently the pastor of a large congregation in Raleigh, North Carolina, this well-known female singer worked with the gospel group The Caravans established by Albertina Walker. Who is she?
10. What musical genre is regarded by many as a form of street poetry?
11. What medium did Gordon Parks use to describe Black Americans deprivation and racial discrimination?
12. For what style of music were the Ward Singers famous?
13. Published in 1771, what book brought Phillis Wheatley wide acclaim?
14. What actor appeared in the play “Emperor Jones” in 1925?
15. The “Father of Gospel Music” was Thomas A. Dorsey. He composed how many songs?
16. She was known as the “Queen of Gospel Music.” Her first recording, “Move On Up a Little Higher,” sold over a million copies in 1945. What was her name?
17. Who was the first African American to perform at the opening and become prima donna of the new Metropolitan Opera House in 1966?
18. What writer created the character Jesse B. Semple, the quintessential middle-aged man in Harlem?
19. What Alex Haley novel was made into a television mini-series in 1977 and 1979?
20. Who was the dramatist who wrote the hit play, “A Raisin in The Sun”?
Answers
1. Zora Neale Hurston
2. Walter Mosley
3. W.E.B. Du Bois, who earned a doctorate at Harvard University, became a professor of history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University, and co-founded the NAACP
4. U.S. Delegate to the United Nations
5. The Women of Brewster Place
6. The Schomburg Center
7. Sarah Vaughan
8. Sam Cooke, who was known as the “King of Soul” for his distinctive vocals in “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Bring It on Home to Me,” and “You Send Me”
9. Shirley Caesar
10. rap
11. photography
12. Traditional Gospel
13. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
14. Paul Robeson
15. over 1000 songs, including “Precious Lord (Take My Hand),” “It’s a Highway to Heaven,” (There’ll be) Peace in the Valley,” and “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow”
16. Mahalia Jackson (who was one of two singers personally requested by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to sing at his funeral; the other was Aretha Franklin)
17. Leontyne Price, who was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi
18. Langston Hughes, a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist who was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance
19. Roots
20. Lorraine Hansberry, the first African American and youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle Award
So how did you do?
20-16 correct: Excellent! You are a history buff and should share your expertise.
15-11 correct: Very Good! You might want to read Ebony to polish your knowledge.
10–6 correct: Good! You’re on the right track! You might want to read 1001 Things Everyone Should know about African American History by Jeffrey C. Stewart.
5 or fewer correct: You can do this! Keep striving! The library has books, magazines, movies, plays, and television series that can increase your body of knowledge.

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