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African American History Quiz

African American History Quiz

Ten Questions

In what year did the first slave ship arrive in the United States?

A) 1740

B) 1619

C) 1624

D) 1737

2. What propelled Sojourner Truth into the national spotlight?

A) Her Ain’t I A Woman speech.

B) She was born free and then kidnapped and made a slave

C) She sued a slave owner for her children’s freedom

D) Her tall stature and presence

3. Where did the biggest race riot in American history take place?

A) California

B) Mississippi

C) Virginia

D) Oklahoma

4. What order did these phases of African American history take place?

A) Slave Codes, Black Codes, Jim Crow

B) Black Codes, Slave Codes, Jim Crow

C) Jim Crow, Black Codes, Slave Codes

D) Black Codes, Jim Crow, Slave Codes

5. What extremist group was created in the United States in response to the Civil War?

A) The Black Panthers

B) The Ku Klux Klan

C) The Black Liberation Army

D) The Weathermen

6. Which organization fed 10,000 hungry children a day?

A) The Ku Klux Klan

B) The Black Liberation Army

C) The Neo Nazis

D) The Black Panther Party

7. Who was the first African American to play Major League baseball?

A) Jackie Robinson

B) Moses Fleetwood Walker

C) Sammy Sosa

D)Hank Aaron

8. Many American music styles have roots in the African American community. Which Gospel artist is referred to as the Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll?

A) Etta James

B) Vareta Dillard

C) Sister Rosetta Tharpe

D) Faye Dunaway

9. To what does the term “The Little Rock Nine” refer?

A) A protest

B) Victims of a hate crime

C) The students that integrated a high school

D) A charter of the NAACP

10. Who was dubbed the “Black Leonardo da Vinci” by Times Magazine in 1941?

A) George Washington Carver

B) Frederick Douglass

C) Jack Johnson

D) Duke Ellington


1. B. The first slave ship to arrive in the United States is recorded in 1619.

2. C. Sojourner Truth escaped to freedom in 1826 and sued her former owner for her child’s freedom. She was the first slave to successfully sue a white man for a slave’s freedom. She is primarily known now for her Ain’t I A Woman speech. But, in her day, her popularity rose from that court case. That is how she began speaking across the country. Another interesting fact is her Ain’t I A Woman speech that she is known for is not the actual speech that she gave. Frances Dana Barker Gage, a well-known Abolitionist and leader in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, printed Sojourner Truth’s speech 12 years after Truth delivered it. In this revised version Truth’s speech patterns had more stereotypical speech patterns of slaves and is vastly different than the words Truth spoke in reality, while the overall message is consistent. This revised version is what Sojourner Truth is known for. Her actual Speech can be found at the Smithsonian.

3. D. Tulsa, Oklahoma is home to what is widely considered one of the biggest race riots in United States history. It took place in a neighborhood known as Greenwood in 1921. Greenwood was at the time the wealthiest African American neighborhood in the country. The destruction covered 35 city blocks, an estimated 300 dead, 800 in the hospital and around 6,000 arrests in the span of two days. The Tulsa Race Riots is significant reminder of not just African American history, but Oklahoma history as well.

4. A. Slave Codes were created during slavery. The slaves had to follow the rules of those who owned them, but also had to follow the restrictions applied to them by the states as well. These codes often define what constitutes a slave, what a slave is allowed to wear and where they are allowed to be seen. These codes would also dictate how people should respond to slaves who disobey these codes. These laws typically encouraged harsh physical punishments, harassment and chastisement. After slavery was abolished Black Codes were implemented throughout the South and restricted the newly freed men’s freedom greatly. These codes made it very easy to arrest black people for very minor infractions. This marked the beginning of the convict lease system that was prevalent in the South post war. The black Codes overall mimicked the Slave Codes in many ways. They also set the precursor to Jim Crow which largely kept the black community segregated and restricted African American people’s ability to integrate in society. Jim Crow did not officially end until the end of the Civil Rights Movement.

5. B. The Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK was created in response to the Civil War results. Now widely considered an extremist group, it was once considered a respectable organization. It was created in 1865, post-Civil War and is still a thriving group to this day.

6. D. The Black Panther Party was widely criticized by media during its run during the Civil Rights Movement. They were characterized as terrorists. During this period there was a massive food crisis across the country. The Black Panther Party organized an effort to successfully feed as many hungry children as possible, reaching up to 10,000 children a day. When this made the headlines it served as an embarrassment for the government as they had made little progress in this arena. This sparked the children feeding programs that are now available in schools across the country. The Black Panther Party also took a strong stance on Women’s Rights creating daycare facilities throughout their communities and family feeding programs to take some pressure off of women, so that they may work and volunteer. Some people argue that this is what WIC is based on, though there is no evidence to show that. But, the Black Panthers were the first to do it.

7. B. While Jackie Robinson is widely credited as being the first African American to play Major League Baseball, this is not true. Moses Fleetwood Walker is officially credited as the first. In reality there was at least one African American player prior to him, but he passed for white throughout his career. So, Moses Fleetwood Walker is the first openly African American to play Major League Baseball, joining the league in 1883. He played well and a few other African Americans (including his brother) joined quickly after. Racial tensions grew around games with fans boycotting games with black players on the field. As a result, the men were fired from their teams and the color barrier was erected. This barrier would not be broken until 1947 when Jackie Robinson hit the scene.

8. C. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a gospel artist who rose to prominence in the 1930’s. She pushed the boundaries of gospel music with her unique style of heavy distortion of her electric guitar. If you have never heard of her, you can find videos of her on YouTube.

9. C. The Little Rock Nine refers to the nine students that integrated a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. It received international attention in what was known as the Little Rock Crisis. The governor of Arkansas at the time did not want to uphold the Supreme Court decision of 1954 that made segregation in school’s illegal.

10. A. George Washington Carver is known for peanut butter, but really he was born into slavery, became a botanist and staunch environmentalist. His work led to revolutionizing modern farming practices.

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