In 1926, the historian Carter G. Woodson came up with the idea of a “Negro History Week” to celebrate and educate people about the achievements and cultural significance of the African diaspora in American and world culture. Fifty years later, it became an official event in the national calendar in the United States and Canada, and even though its usefulness as a stand-alone month has been questioned, that doesn't diminish by one iota the accomplishments of the people profiled in this month’s quiz. Enjoy.
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What short story collection, penned by the author Richard Wright, took as its name a spinoff from an earlier semi-related American literary work?
Life Beyond the Mississippi
Uncle Tom's Children
Gone To The Four Winds
Darkness In August
Question 1 Explanation:
The five stories in this collection are as strong and influential as Wright's better-known novels, Native Son and Black Boy
The Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka is the first cousin of what other iconic Nigerian cultural figure?
Question 2 Explanation:
Soyinka's grandfather is Rev. Conan JJ-Ransome-Kuti, who is also the grandfather of Fela, the Afrobeat pioneer and subject of the hit Broadway musical of the same name
What name is shared by one of the central characters in the novel and film "The Color Purple" and one of the actors who played a Commanding Officer in the Star Trek multiverse?
Question 3 Explanation:
Shug Avery, played by Oprah Winfrey in the film version of The Color Purple, is the glamorous visitor who comes to the plantation to teach the main character Celie about the ways of the world. (It doesn't go so well.) Avery Brooks played Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Brooks has also starred in televised versions of Uncle Tom's Cabin (for Showtime) and Half Slave, Half Free: Solomon Northrup's Odyssey (for PBS). He's amazing. I'll watch him in anything.
Margaret Garner, a slave who received notoriety for killing her daughter rather than letting her return to slavery in the years before the Civil War, became the inspiration for what Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?
Wolf By the Ears
The Chaneysville Incident
The Copper Elephant
Question 4 Explanation:
Toni Morrison also wrote the libretto for Margaret Garner, an opera based on the same woman, which recently ended a critically acclaimed run in Detroit and Chicago
Which of the following musicals, currently back on Broadway, has had recorded adaptations by Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong, among many others?
Porgy and Bess
Question 5 Explanation:
The current production of Porgy & Bess, starring Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier, is at the Richard Rodgers Theater until the end of June
According to tradition, Anansi is a trickster animal who was the inspiration for the American Br'er Rabbit. Anansi wasn't a rabbit, though. In West African folklore, what kind of animal was Anansi?
Question 6 Explanation:
Anansi's stories are a cross between the Uncle Remus/Song Of The South tales and Aesop's Fables. In West Africa, fables are known as anansesem, or "spider tales." (Skunk Anansie is the name of a decent '90s Britpop band, but little else.)
Name the Harlem Renaissance poet who wrote the following lines: I 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.
Zora Neale Hurston
Question 7 Explanation:
["The Negro Speaks Of Rivers" is one of Hughes' earliest poems, and is among his best-known works. Here him explain and read it here.
Of all the recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature, how many have been born in Africa?
Question 8 Explanation:
Soyinka (1986) is joined by South Africans Nadine Gordimer (1991) and J.M. Coetzee (2003)
Which of these facts is not true of Booker T. Washington?
He was the first African-American ever invited to the White House
He was the first African-American to appear on a U.S. Postage Stamp
He literally built the buildings that became Tuskegee University with his own hands (plus those of the first year's students)
He brought the concept of crop rotation to the American South, saving millions of acres of land
Question 9 Explanation:
George Washington Carver, a titan of American agriculture, was later hired by Washington at Tuskegee. They were both groundbreaking and innovative in their fields, but they are not the same person.
What charged phrase is the name of Spike Lee's production company?
A Nation Of Millions
40 Acres & A Mule
Three Fifths Productions
By Any Means Necessary
Question 10 Explanation:
The term comes from an order by General Sherman in 1865, marking the amount of land confiscated from plantation owners that was to be given to freed slaves. It was never an official government policy, though, and after Lincoln's assassination later that year, President Andrew Johnson rescinded the order, leaving the phrase as just another fable of the Reconstruction.
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If the idea of a big collection of writings about socio-linguistics by the author of “The Name of the Rose” strikes you as a winning way to spend a weekend, Harvard University Press has some good news for you.