Black History Month Quiz — Answers

A Challenge for 'The Tavis Smiley Show' Listeners

Listen: Black History Month Quiz Questions, Feb. 25, 2004

Mahalia Jackson

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, pictured here in the 1940s, sang at assassinated President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS hide caption

itoggle caption Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS

In honor of Black History Month, The Tavis Smiley Show challenges listeners with a history quiz. Below are the questions asked on-air on Wednesday, Feb. 25, plus the answers:

1. Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr., spent six days in space in 1983. Was he a member of a Challenger, Apollo or Gemini mission?

ANSWER: A Challenger mission. He was the first black American astronaut in space, and helped to launch a communication and weather satellite.

2. In what Midwestern city did Dr. Hale Williams establish the first African-American hospital?

ANSWER: Chicago, in 1891.

3. Who was the first black woman ever named to the cabinet of a U.S. president?

ANSWER: Patricia R. Harris, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Jimmy Carter.

4. In 1849, a Virginia slave named Henry Brown decided to mail himself to freedom. Did he succeed or fail?

ANSWER: He succeeded. Packaged in a 3' x 2' x 2'8" box, he arrived safely 26 hours later at the Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia.

5. Did the first black lawyer in America receive his license before or after the Civil War?

ANSWER: Before. Macon B. Allen received his license in Massachusetts in 1845.

6. Which U.S. president signed Executive Order 9981, ending official racial discrimination in the U.S. armed forces?

ANSWER: Harry Truman, in 1948. Desegration had already begun on a trial basis during World War II.

7. What book by Richard Wright was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1940?

ANSWER: Native Son.

8. Who invented a vertical spring that made it possible for cars to have convertible tops — James A. Jones, or T. J. Byrd?

ANSWER: James A. Jones, in 1919. Byrd was granted four patents for devices that coupled horses to carriages.

9. Which distinguished gospel singer performed at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961?

ANSWER: Mahalia Jackson, who also led the crowd singing "We Shall Overcome" at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington.

10. Who was the first African American to win a singles title at Wimbledon — Althea Gibson, or Arthur Ashe?

ANSWER: Althea Gibson, who won both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open singles titles in 1957 and 1958.

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