If you’re hosting a game night, a trivia night, or are bored on a car ride and you want to have fun and learn at the same time. What better way to do it than to learn about Black history? Black history is American history. From the Abolitionist Movement to the Civil Rights Movement and finally, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement, Black history has helped shape today’s American culture in so many different ways these 100 Black History trivia questions, though fun, present an opportunity to remind ourselves of what truly matters.
Some of the questions in this list include names that will immediately be recognizable to people. For example, the most influential leader of the Civil Rights Movement who constantly emphasized the importance of peaceful protest, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It also includes the brave and legendary Rosa Parks, whose seemingly small action proved to be a huge display of courage and changed society. Some other names amongst these Black history trivia questions may not be as easily recognizable. So, here is a chance for those who paid attention in school to prove it. For others? It can be a time to learn more about the deep and rich history of our Black ancestors in America.
20 Black History Trivia Questions on the Civil Rights Movement
- Who was the iconic civil rights leader known for his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963?
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
- In what year did Rosa Parks refuse to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
- What was the name of the landmark Supreme Court case that ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional?
(Brown v. Board of Education)
- Which civil rights activist and wife of Medgar Evers worked tirelessly for racial equality and justice?
- What was the goal of the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement?
(To challenge segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals)
- Who was the first Black American to enroll at the University of Mississippi, breaking the color barrier in higher education in the state?
- What was the name of the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., in 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech?
(March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom)
- Which Black woman became the first major-party Black candidate for President of the United States in 1972?
- What organization did Malcolm X belong to before forming his own organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity?
(Nation of Islam)
- Who was the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a key organization in the Civil Rights Movement?
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
- What was the primary goal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
(To end segregation in public places and ban employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin)
- What landmark piece of civil rights legislation, signed into law in 1965, aimed to eliminate barriers to voting for Black Americans?
(Voting Rights Act of 1965)
- Who was the first Black American Supreme Court Justice, appointed in 1967?
- What was the primary aim of the Black Panther Party, founded in 1966?
(To address systemic issues affecting Black Americans, including police brutality and inequality)
- Who became the first Black American woman to serve as the United States Secretary of State in 2001?
- Which Black American baseball player broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947?
- What event in 1968 resulted in nationwide protests and is often seen as a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement?
(The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.)
- Who was the Black American civil rights activist who organized the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957?
- Which Civil Rights Movement activist, known for her powerful singing voice, was also called the “Queen of Gospel”?
- What movement was founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer?
(The Black Lives Matter movement)
20 Black History Trivia Questions on Black American Music
- Who is often referred to as the “Queen of Soul” and is known for hits like “Respect” and “Natural Woman”?
- What style of music originated in Black American communities in the southern United States and combines elements of spirituals, work songs and the blues?
- Which legendary guitarist is known for his virtuosic skills and played a crucial role in the development of rock and roll?
- What music genre, characterized by its use of turntables and sampling, was founded in Black American communities in the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s?
- Who is known as the “Godfather of Soul” and is famous for hits like “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”?
- In the early 1900s, what style of music, featuring intricate guitar picking and storytelling lyrics, became a cornerstone of the blues genre?
- What Black American artist released the groundbreaking album “What’s Going On” in 1971, addressing social and political issues of the time?
- Which musical genre, often associated with New Orleans, blends African, European and Caribbean influences and is known for its brass bands?
- Who was the “High Priestess of Soul” and is famous for her unique blend of jazz, blues and gospel music?
- What is the name of the influential record label founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. in Detroit, which played a pivotal role in the development of Motown music?
- Which rapper released the iconic album “Illmatic” in 1994, often considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time?
- Who is often referred to as the “Father of the Blues” and was a key figure in the development of this musical genre?
- What term is commonly used to describe the fusion of rhythm and blues and gospel music, leading to the birth of rock and roll?
(Rhythm and blues or R&B)
- Which Black American woman is celebrated as a pioneering electric blues guitarist and singer, known for her powerful voice and emotive guitar playing?
(Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
- Who was the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and was known for her soulful singing?
- What Black American artist is often called the “King of Pop” and is famous for his albums “Thriller” and “Off the Wall”?
- What musical genre, known for its call-and-response style and expressive storytelling, evolved from Black American work songs and spirituals?
- What band was Jimi Hendrix the founding member and lead guitarist of?
(“The Jimi Hendrix Experience”)
- What dance style and music genre, originating in Harlem, New York in the 1920s, was often associated with the Harlem Renaissance?
(Swing and jazz)
- What influential rap group, known for their politically charged lyrics and activism, released the album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” in 1988?
Black History Trivia on Enslavement and Abolition
- What was the name of the famous slave narrative that Frederick Douglass authored?
(“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”)
- Who was the Black American novelist and enslaved person who wrote the famous narrative “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” under the pseudonym Linda Brent?
- What prominent Black American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate gave the “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech in 1851?
- What act, passed by Congress in 1850, required that escaped enslaved individuals be returned to their owners, even if they were found in free states?
(Fugitive Slave Act of 1850)
- Who was the celebrated conductor of the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and secret routes that helped enslaved people escape to freedom?
- What famous novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe depicted the harsh realities of slavery and became one of the most influential anti-slavery works in the 19th century?
(Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
- Who was the Black American orator and writer who rose to prominence through his fiery speeches advocating for immediate emancipation of enslaved people?
- What famous Black American abolitionist and former enslaved person gave the “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” speech in 1852?
- Which abolitionist and author published “The Liberator,” an influential anti-slavery newspaper, for over 30 years?
(William Lloyd Garrison)
- Who was the enslaved Black American who sued for his freedom in the Virginia courts and lost in the infamous 1783 case, establishing the principle that once a person was enslaved, they remained so for life?
- What religious and social movement in the early 19th century advocated for the immediate abolition of slavery and attracted many Black American and white supporters?
- Who was the first Black American to publish a book in the United States, a collection of poetry titled “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” in 1773?
- Which influential Black American journalist and newspaper editor published “The North Star,” an abolitionist newspaper, and is often called the “Father of Black Journalism”?
- How did enslaved people often communicate to help each other escape along the Underground Railroad?
(Songs, quilts and secret codes)
- Who was the English actress and abolitionist who played a significant role in the anti-slavery movement and was known for her portrayal of Shakespearean characters?
- Who was the enslaved Black American that led the 1831 rebellion that resulted in the deaths of many white individuals and harsher laws against enslaved people?
- What abolitionist newspaper, published by John Brown and Peter Rucker, was known for its fiery denunciations of slavery and its call for armed insurrection against enslavers?
(The National Anti-Slavery Standard)
- Who was the Black American educator, author, and orator who founded Tuskegee Institute, a school dedicated to the education of Black Americans in the post-Civil War era?
(Booker T. Washington)
- What Black American woman became the first woman to sue for her freedom in court and won her case, setting an important legal precedent in Massachusetts in 1781?
(Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mum Bett)
- Who was the Black American orator and writer who wrote the influential speech “Address to the Slaves of the United States” and advocated for slave rebellion and self-emancipation?
(Henry Highland Garnet)
Black History Trivia Questions About Black Americans on the Big Screen
- Who became the first Black American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film “Lilies of the Field” in 1963?
- What 2017 film, directed by Jordan Peele, addresses issues of race in America through a horror-thriller narrative?
- Which Black American actress starred in the popular 1970s television series “The Jeffersons” and became the first Black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series?
- Who was the first Black American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, earning the honor for her role in “Ghost” in 1990?
- What popular television show, which originally aired from 1990 to 1996, starred Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from Philadelphia living with his wealthy relatives in Los Angeles?
(The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
- Who is the comedian and actress known for her roles in “Girls Trip” and “The Last O.G.” and for guest hosting “The Daily Show”?
- What groundbreaking television miniseries, based on Alex Haley’s book, traced the journey of an Black American family from slavery to the 20th century?
- What acclaimed director is known for films such as “Malcolm X,” “Do the Right Thing,” and “BlacKkKlansman”?
- What Black American actress and singer starred in the classic film “Carmen Jones” and won a Tony Award for “Porgy and Bess”?
- What influential filmmaker directed the 2016 documentary “13th,” which explores the impact of the 13th Amendment on mass incarceration in the United States?
- What popular ’90s sitcom featured a predominantly Black American cast and was set in a Chicago apartment building?
- Who is the actor known for his role as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his work in films like “42” and “Get On Up”?
- What iconic character was portrayed by Nichelle Nichols in the original “Star Trek” series, making her one of the first Black women in a significant role on a major television series?
- Who directed the critically acclaimed film “Moonlight,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2017?
- What acclaimed filmmaker directed the historical drama “12 Years a Slave,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2014?
- Who is the comedian and actress known for her role on “Insecure” and as the co-creator, writer and star of the HBO series?
- In 2002, Halle Berry made history by becoming the first Black American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. For which film did she win?
- Who is the acclaimed director and producer known for films like “Fruitvale Station,” “Black Panther,” and “Creed”?
- Who was the Black American actor and comedian known for his roles in “The Nutty Professor” and “Coming to America”?
- What film, released in 2020, featured a predominantly Black American cast and told the story of a legendary recording session in 1927 Mississippi?
(Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Black History Trivia on Science and Discovery
- Who was the Black American mathematician and NASA scientist portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures” for her pivotal role in the early days of the U.S. space program?
- Which renowned Black American physicist is best known for his development of the theory of nuclear shell structure?
(James E. Harris)
- Who was the first Black American woman in space, flying aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992?
- What influential Black American chemist made significant contributions to the understanding of chemical bonding and molecular structure?
- Who became the first Black American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and made notable contributions to differential equations and mathematical analysis?
(Elbert F. Cox)
- What accomplished Black American engineer and inventor was awarded more than 50 patents and is known for his contributions to the development of the Super Soaker water gun?
(Lonnie G. Johnson)
- Who was the first Black American woman gynecologist?
(Helen Octavia Dickens, MD)
- What Black American microbiologist is credited with discovering the first effective treatment for leprosy (Hansen’s disease) in the 1940s?
- Which Black American President won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his efforts in international diplomacy and cooperation?
(President Barack Obama)
- Which Black American inventor and agricultural chemist developed innovative methods for crop rotation and soil conservation, known as the “Carver System”?
(George Washington Carver)
- What Black American neurosurgeon, known for his pioneering work in pediatric neurosurgery, became the first person to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head?
- Who was the first Black person to win a Nobel Prize in any category other than peace?
(William Arthur Lewis, won for Economic Sciences)
- What Black American zoologist was instrumental in environmental conservation?
(Roger Arliner Young)
- Who was the Black American inventor and engineer known for his contributions to the development of the gas mask and the traffic signal?
- What Black American civil rights leader and educator served as the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and founded the Niagara Movement?
(W.E.B. Du Bois)
- Who was the Black American physician and pioneering researcher who developed surgical techniques for the treatment of glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness?
- What Black American astronaut became the first person of Black descent in space, flying aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983?
(Guion S. Bluford Jr.)
- Who was the Black American mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to the development of the atomic bomb during World War II?
(J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.)
- What Black American psychologist is best known for his research on implicit racial bias in IQ testing?
(Herman George Canady)
- Who was the Black American computer scientist and mathematician whose work at NASA contributed to the success of the Mercury and Apollo space missions?