Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States for more than 40 years. We’ve put together some quick facts and a couple of quizzes. Why not sit down with your family and brush up on your knowledge of African Americans who have made a difference in our world?

Test Your Knowledge

  1. What was Rosa Parks arrested for on Dec. 1, 1955?
  2. What was the Underground Railroad?
  3. Where was Martin Luther King Jr. born?
  4. Who wrote the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
  5. What is an abolitionist?

Match each Georgia-born African-American to his or her claim to fame.

  1. Jack Johnson
  2. Dr. Mae Jemison
  3. Hank Aaron
  4. Ray Charles
  5. Ralph Abernathy
  6. Thurgood Marshall
  7. Leroy Johnson
  8. Alice Walker
  9. Andrew Young
  10. Herschel Walker
  11. Gladys Knight
  12. Evander Holyfield
  13. Jackie Robinson
  1. First African American woman to go into space
  2. Famous performer and recording artist, known for “Georgia on My Mind”
  3. First African American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court Atlanta Braves player who hit 755 home runs; broke Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs
  4. MLK Jr.’s chief partner in the civil rights movement
  5. First African American to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title
  6. First African American hired by the Fulton County solicitor general’s office (1957)
  7. Writer born in Eatonton, Ga., best known for her novel “The Color Purple”
  8. First Black American to play major league baseball; born in Cairo, Ga., in 1919 and died in 1972
  9. Born in 1962; won a Bronze in the 1984 Summer Olympics; and in 1990 became the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World
  10. Born in 1962 in Wrightsville; was a University of Georgia football star; won the Heisman Trophy in 1982
  11. Singer born in 1944 in Atlanta; hits include “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia”
  12. Civil rights leader and mayor of Atlanta from 1982-90; played an important role in bringing the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta

Quick Facts

  • Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926.
  • February was chosen so that the celebration coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Gerald R. Ford was the first president to officially recognize Black History Month.

Answer Key: 1. Refusing to give her bus seat to a white passenger; 2. The informal system that helped slaves escape to the North during the mid-1800s; 3. Atlanta, Georgia; 4. Harriet Beecher Stowe; 5. A person who wanted to end slavery.
1. F; 2. A; 3. D; 4. B; 5. E; 6. C; 7. G; 8. H; 9. M; 10. K; 11. L; 12. J; 13. I.

– Alexi Wilbourn

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