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Quiz  – African American History



Instructions:  Answer each question as briefly but thoroughly as possible, using correct spelling and grammar.  Submit your responses as a MS Word document.

Short Answer – 2 points each, except where otherwise directed.


1.     Which came first, Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court Decision or the founding of the NAACP?

2.     What do the letters of the NAACP stand for:

3.     What is the name of the group that preceded the NAACP and helped lead to the founding of the NAACP?

4.      What 1915 film did the NAACP protest against for its portrayal of African Americans in the years after the Civil War?

5.      The NAACP led the fight against “separate but equal” accommodations and segregated schools.  What was the name of the lawsuit before the Supreme Court that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson?

6.     Who was the NAACP’s lead lawyer in this 1954 case?

7.     What did President Johnson do to this lawyer in 1967?

8.     What is the name of the magazine published by the NAACP?

9.     Is this website from the NAACP an example of a primary or secondary historical resource?   Explain your answer in 4-6 sentences (5 points)

10.    Why is there an article about W.E.B. DuBois in the referenced document?

W.E.B. DuBois and Life after the Civil War

11.   What system replaced slavery in the agricultural South for many African Americans following the Civil War?

12.   What is a “poll tax”?

13.   A bill passed in February 1865 established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.  For how long was it initially supposed to stay in effect as an organization, according to DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk?

14.   What two reasons does DuBois give for the ultimate failure of the Freedmen’s Bureau?

15.   What problem does DuBois claim will be the 20th Century’s?

16.   How did Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise appeal to white radicals in the South?

17.   In DuBois’ opinion, Booker T. Washington is asking black Americans to give up 3 things. What are they?

18.   In 4-6 sentences, give DuBois’ opinion of why Washington’s program would not work to enhance the lives of African Americans? (5 points)

19.   What is ironic about the relative monetary “value” of racist artefacts, such as the ones shown at the Jim Crow museum?  [See]

20.   After the Civil War, to keep African Americans afraid and “in their place,” what did racist whites in the South do on average once every three or four days?

21.   In this article by Rev. D.A. Graham, what does he write about the effects of separate accommodations upon young African American men? [See ]

22.   Who wrote A Red Record. Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States, 1892-1893-1894?

23.   What form of African-American music was said to start in the late 1800s?

24.   Bonus Question (2 points):  What is the name of the most popular Ragtime Music composer? [Hint:  He also wrote an opera called Treemonisha.]


25.   Who wrote the poem  I’ve Known Rivers” and how is the poem particularly relevant to this course?

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

26.   What filmmaker portrayed African Americans as modern and outside of the Jim Crow stereotypes so prevalent in this era?

27.   Who wrote the plays, “The Mule Bone” and “De Turkey and De Law”? (Spell correctly!)

28.   What was the name of the NAACP lawyer who first began to chip away at segregation and other Jim Crow practices in the 1930s?

29.   Who started the Black Star Line in 1919?

30.   Who was Cab Calloway?

31.   What white composer in the mid-1930s used a story about African Americans as the basis for his opera Porgy & Bess? 

32.   How many African Americans moved from the South to the North during the Great Migration?

33.   Bonus (2 points):  In what year were the Harlem Globetrotters started?

Civil Rights Years – 1945-1970

34.   In 1958, civil rights leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr., met with President Eisenhower.  What did they advise him to do about U.S. racial inequality? What was Eisenhower’s response?

35.   In May 1963, civil rights leaders met in New York City with Attorney General Robert Kennedy.  What message did they give the president’s brother about the pace of federal government response to racial inequality? What was Robert Kennedy’s response?

36.   What images influenced President Kennedy to act on civil rights?

37.    What was the official name of the march that took place on August 28, 1963? 

38.    Who was the last official speaker at the march and what is his current job?

39.    Which African-American leader wrote this about the plans for the march?

“We’re going to march on Washington, march on the Senate, march on the White House, march on the Congress, and tie it up, bring it to a halt; don’t let the government proceed. They even said they was [sic] going out to the airport and lay down on the runway and don’t let no airplanes land. I’m telling you what they said. That was revolution. That was revolution. That was the black revolution.”

40.   How did international press attention influence the passage of civil rights laws?

41.   Which civil rights leader worked at the grassroots level to train young people on how to sign up people to vote in the Deep South?

42.   What is significant in terms of civil rights about the 2013 Supreme Court Ruling called Shelby County v. Holder?

43.     In 1997, Kathleen Cleaver wrote the following about which organization?

“And what appealed to me about the ______________________was that it took that position of self-determination and articulated it in a local community structure, had a program, had a platform and an implementation through the statement of how blacks should exercise community control over education, housing, business, military service.”

44.    Who is Peniel E. Joseph?

45.    What was the Kerner Commission? Why was it set up? What did it warn about American society?

Short Answer – 15 points

In 100-150 words, make a case for a person or event that should always be covered in a course in African American studies.  What would it teach to African Americans and to Americans of other races?  What would it teach about social change or having a harmonious multi-racial/multi-cultural society?  What makes this person or event so important that Americans should know about him/her/it in 100 years? Be sure your answer addresses ALL parts of the question. (15 points)


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