Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. —Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures/Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

1. Which woman served as a U.S. senator?

A. Shirley Chisholm

B. Carol Mosely-Braun

C. Eleanor Holmes Norton

2. Who served as poet laureate of the United States?

A. Gwendolyn Brooks

B. Maya Angelou

C. Rita Dove

3. Which of these dancers became the director of a major American dance company?

A. Judith Jamison

B. Kathryn Dunham

C. Josephine Baker

4. Which of these opera singers became the first African American to become a permanent member of the Metropolitan Opera Company?

A. Jessye Norman

B. Marian Anderson

C. Leontyne Price

5. Which activist’s long career involved her deeply in three major civil rights organizations — the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)?

A. Fannie Lou Hamer

B. Angela Davis

C. Ella Baker

6. Which of these actresses has NOT won an Oscar?

A. Angela Bassett

B. Halle Berry

C. Hattie McDaniel

7. Which abolitionist was known for her extraordinary oratorical gifts?

A. Harriet Tubman

B. Sojourner Truth

C. Phillis Wheatley

8. Which African-American woman won the Nobel Prize in Literature?

A. Toni Morrison

B. Zora Neale Hurston

C. Alice Walker

9. Which of these civil rights activists was the leader behind the Little Rock Nine, the students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957?

A. Daisy Bates

B. Fannie Lou Hamer

C. Rosa Parks

10. Which author wrote a poem and read it at Bill Clinton’s first presidential inauguration and was later given the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

A. Alice Walker

B. Toni Morrison

C. Maya Angelou

Answers:1. B, Carol Mosely-Braun made history in 1992 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black woman senator.

2. C, Rita Dove was poet laureate from 1993 to 1995.

3. A, Judith Jamison, a long-time principal dancer for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, became its director in 1990, after Ailey’s death.

4. B, Legendary contralto Marian Anderson became the first African-American member of New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1955. She had already made history decades earlier, when she was banned from performing at Washington, D.C.’s, Constitution Hall in 1939 because of the color of her skin. The public outrage that ensued helped expose a larger segment of the American population to the moral bankruptcy of segregation.

5. C, Ella Baker served as national secretary of the NAACP, and helped found both the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

6. A, Angela Bassett was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (1993), but she has not won one. Hattie McDaniel received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “Gone With the Wind,” becoming the first African American to win an Academy Award. Halle Berry won a Best Actress Oscar for “Monster’s Ball” in 2001.

7. B, Sojourner Truth traveled the country speaking out against racism and for women’s rights. She is best known for her charisma, majestic height, and her impassioned speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?,” delivered at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851.

8. A, Toni Morrison won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African American to receive the honor.

9. A, Daisy Bates, the president of the Arkansas NAACP, organized and guided the Little Rock Nine, who defied school segregation in the Deep South. It was Bates who sent the telegram to President Eisenhower, requesting federal support after the students were threatened. Each day, before and after school, the students regrouped at Bates’s house. Her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock, won a 1988 National Book Award.

10. C, Maya Angelou wrote the poem “On the Pulse of Morning” and read it at Clinton’s first presidential inauguration in 1993. She was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., by former President Barack Obama in 2011.

— Compiled by Chanel Hill

Compiled by Chanel Hill

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