African American Trivia

In this newsletter we celebrate Juneteenth, a few days early, with some trivia on African American history. What is Juneteenth, you might ask? It is a day commemorating the emancipation of slaves in the United States.

If the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, then why do we celebrate on June 16? It is because that declaration was made in the middle of the Civil War and the Confederate States of America would have felt the Union had no authority over them and thus did nothing about it. Not only did it take finishing the war to enforce it, but information spread more slowly back then.

To be specific, the Confederacy did not surrender until over two years after the Proclamation, on April 9, 1865. It was left up to Union troops and federal authorities to enforce the ban on slavery. Due to its geographic isolation, at the west end of the Confederacy, and comparative lack of involvement in the war, it took Union Troops a while to get there. The last place they went, on June 19, 1865, was Galveston Island, near Houston. There Union Major General Gordon Granger informed the authorities as well as the local black church of the emancipation and the nullification of state laws that allowed for slavery, as federal law supersedes states law. So, we celebrate on June 19 because that was the date the last slaves were actually emancipated.

That said, here is some African American trivia to celebrate their freedom.


  1. Who refused to move to the “colored” section at the back of the bus, in which year did this happen, and in what city?
  2. Which black candidate for president in 1984 and 1988 won millions of votes in the Democratic primary elections?
  3. Who said, “The only thing I like integrated is my coffee.”
  4. What is considered the unofficial “Negro National Anthem”?
  5. DNA evidence suggests that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least four children with which slave of his?
  6. What celebration of African American culture began in 1966?
  7. Who was the first African American to serve as Supreme Court Justice?
  8. Who was the first African American entertainer to host a TV show?
  9. Who was the first African American to win an Academy Award?
  10. Who invented over 500 products made from peanuts and sweet potatoes?
  11. What was the name of the travel guide that identified business that were friendly to black travelers?
  12. Which was the first state to ban slavery?


  1. Rosa Parks, on 12/1/1955, in Montgomery Alabama
  2. Jesse Jackson
    Image source Wikipedia
  3. Malcolm X
    Image source Wikipedia
  4. Lift Every Voice and Sing. Please see the video if you’re not familiar with it.
  5. Sally Hemings
  6. Kwanzaa
  7. Thurgood Marshall, nominated by Lyndon Johnson in 1967
  8. Nat King Cole, who hosted the Nat King Cole show
    Image source Wikipedia
  9. Hattie McDaniel, for Gone with the Wind in 1939
    Image source Wikipedia
  10. George Washington Carver (c. 1864-1943)
  11. The Negro Motorist Green Book
  12. Vermont