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Black History Quiz Bowl Questions

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Elijah McCoy
This famous African American inventor created an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines in 1872. The term "the real McCoy" is believed to be a reference about the reliability of this invention.
Garrett Augustus Morgan
He invented, among many other things, a -way automatic stop sign, which he sold to General Electric. It was used in the U.S. until the 3-light traffic sign was developed.
Otis Boykin
This engineer created electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers, and the control unit for a pacemaker.
George Carruthers
This African American nuclear engineer invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera, used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. This invention revealed new features of Earth's far-outer atmosphere and deep-space objects from the perspective of the lunar surface. He was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame in 2003.
James West
His research in sound technology led to the development of foil-electret transducers used in 90% of all microphones built today and in most new telephones being manufactured. He holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets.
Frederick Jones
He held over 60 patents with most pertaining to refrigeration. His portable air conditioner was used in World War 2 to preserve medicine and blood serum.
Granville Woods
He invented numerous devices relating to the railroad including a system of overhead electric conducting lines, air brakes and a telegraph system that allowed communication between moving trains.
Lewis Temple
This man revolutionized the whaling industry with his invention of the toggle harpoon in 1848.
Dr. Charles Drew
This African American scientist discovered techniques to store blood and developed blood banks.
Thomas J. Martin
He was the first person to patent a fire extinguisher in 1872.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
He invented the Shoe Lasting machine, which connected the upper part of the shoe to the sole, a painstaking process that was usually done by hand. This invention revolutionized the show making industry.
Lonnie G. Johnson
He was an engineer who performed spacecraft system design for NASA, invented the Super Soaker water gun - the number one selling toy in America in 1991.
Alexander Miles
He patented an electric elevator in 1887 with automatic doors that would close off the shaft way, thus making elevators safer.
Andrew Jackson Beard
He invented the "Jenny Coupler" which allowed train cars to hook themselves together when they are bumped into one another. The device is still used today.
Sarah E. Goode
This African American woman invented a bed that folded up into a cabinet in 1885. Contrary to popular belief, she was not the first African-American woman to receive a patent, but the second.
Henry Brown
He created what is now known as a "strongbox", a metal container to store money and important papers that could be locked with a key in 1886.
Henry Blair
He was the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836. Blair could not read or write and signed his name with an X.
David Crosthwait Jr.
An expert on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, he holds 39 U.S. patents and 80 international patents pertaining to heating, refrigeration and temperature regulating systems. He created the heating system for New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
Jesse Owens
He broke many records at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, including becoming the first athlete to win four gold medals in one olympiad.
Quincy Jones
He is the most Grammy-nominated artist in the history of the awards with 76 nominations and 26 awards.
Wilt Chamberlain
He was the first basketball player to score 100 points in a single game during the 1961 season and the first player in the NBA to score 30,000 points.
Michael Jackson
Singer, songwriter, and entertainer extraordinaire, this man was nominated for 12 grammy awards and won a record-breaking eight in 1984. He has received 13 Grammy awards in his career, and is a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He holds the title of Most Top 10 Singlesfrom an album and the Most #1 Singles from an album.
Henry ("Hank") Aaron
He broke Babe Ruth's home run record when he hit his 715th home run in 1974. He set a Major League record with 755 home runs in his career.
Michael Johnson
A sprinter often billed as "the fastest man in the world" has won 5 Olympic gold medals; he has broken numerous world records including his own, and was the first man to win both the 200m and 400m races within the same Olympic game (1996).
Wilma Rudolph
This record breaking track star was born 20th of 22 children and stricken with polio as a child. She not only overcame polio but broke world records in 3 Olympic track events and was the first American woman to win 3 gold medals at the Olympics (1960).
Nathaniel Adams Cole "Nat King Cole"
A singer, song writer and pianist, was the first African-American to host a national television program.
Edmonia Lewis
She was the first professional African-American sculptor, often sculpting courageous and inspirational people such as Cleopatra, Phillis Wheatley, President Ulysses S. Grant, etc.
The Tuskegee Airmen
These men were the first African-American pilots in the U.S. armed forces. Beginning in 1941, select groups of extensively tested and rigorously trained African-Americans were trained at a flight institute in Alabama.
Maurice Ashley
He is the first and only African-American to be crowned International Grand Master of chess in 1999. He opened the Harlem Chess Center in 1999, where he coaches young chess players.
Charley Pride
He is one of the most successful African-American country singers of all time, with a career spanning over 40 years and 36 number one hits. He is also the first African-American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He was a baseball player with the Negro League and the Memphis Red Sox before becoming a successful musician.
Reggie Jackson (hit 3 homeruns in one game of 1977 World Series)
What baseball player earned the nickname "Mr. October" for his outstanding postseason performance?
Queen Latifah (whose real name is Dana Owens)
Name the rapper whose first album was titled All Hail the Queen.
I Spy which debuted on TV in 1965
What was Bill Cosby's first hit TV show called?
Mariah Carey
What female singer recorded more number one hits than anyone else in the 1990's?
Bryant Gumbel (in 1982)
Name the sportscaster who became the first black cohost of NBC's Today show.
Untied Negro College Fund
What do the letters "UNCF" stand for?
Thriller (which sold more copies than any recording up to that time)
What Michael Jackson album won eight Grammy Awards in 1983?
Motown Records
What major recording company was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959?
New Orleans, Louisiana
What Southern city is known as the birthplace of jazz?
Sidney Poitier, in 1964 (for his performance as Homer Smith in lilies of the field)
Who was the first black actor ever to win an Academy Award for best actor?
Dennis Rodman
Name the flamboyant, tattoed basketball star who played with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990's.
Charley Pride, in 1967
Who was the first black singer to appear with the Grande Ole Opry?
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (in 1954)
What U.S. Supreme Court decision declared school segregation unconstitutional?
Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo)
Who was the first American woman to win four medals in an Olympiad?
1986
In what year was the first "Martin Luther King Day" observed?
Atlanta
In what city can you visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center?
Willi Smith (of Willi Wear Ltd.)
What fashion designer said his clothes were intended "not for the queen, but for the people who wave at her" ?
Sickle Cell Anemia
What type of anemia is a genetic disease commonly found among people of African descent?
Colin L. Powell (who was also the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
In the year 2001, who became the first African-American U.S. secretary of state?
Malcolm X (who believed that self-reliance is the means to success)
Who first taught the principle that "Black is beautiful"
The Freedom Rides (The riders challenged segregation in interstate bus travel)
In the 1960's, what form of civil rights protest began with a long bus ride through the South?
Venus Williams (she also won gold medals in the 2000 Olympics for women's singles and for women's doubles with her sister Serena)
Who won back-to-back women's singles tennis titles at Wimbledon in 2000 and 2001?
Spirituals (Among the most popular are "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "Go Down River", and "Deep River")
What do we call the slave songs that combined African rhythms with biblical scripture?
Abolitionists (both blacks and whites played an important role in the antislavery movement)
What name was given to people who boldly spoke out or wrote against slavery?
The Thirteenth Amendment, in 1865 (the amendment gave the U.S. Congress the power to enforce the ban through legislation)
Which constitutional amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States?