Black and African Americans make up the third largest racial and ethnic group in the United States. Their history in America dates back to the 16th century. Yet their contributions have been overlooked for centuries. From helping to shape culture, politics, education, sports, to even the way we look at peanuts. This quiz offers one way to celebrate the many ways Black and African Americans changed the country in the past 200 hundred years.
Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
What we now know of as Black History Month started out as “Negro History Week.” Although African Americans had been in the United States from the Colonial Days, it wasn’t until the 20th century that their story came to be told and honored.
The week was the idea of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and other renowned African Americans looking to recognize the role of their race in U.S. history. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life in 1915. He followed up the year later with a journal of African American history. The first “Negro History Week” was held in the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Since 1976, every American president has officially recognized February as Black History Month. Other countries also mark an annual celebration of Black contributions, such as in Canada or the United Kingdom. Woodson is said to have remarked: “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
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