In observance of Black History Month, we invite you to identify forty significant African Americans by matching their names with their corresponding portraits and brief biographical descriptions.
The ANSWERS to the Black History Month Quiz are now online, but you can still try your hand at the quiz below.
For each name, select a biographical description (by number) and a portrait (by letter) from the columns to the right, as in the example above.
Readers who submitted their answers prior to March 14, 2014 were eligible to win a Humanities Texas Barbara Jordan mug. Mugs were awarded to the entrants with the top ten scores.
This native Texan was a United States Congressman known for his anti-poverty advocacy. He tragically died in a plane crash in Ethiopia.
This composer and bandleader took the A-Train all the way to the top. His image can be found on the 2009 District of Columbia quarter.
This jazz musician appears in an uncredited role in Citizen Kane as the piano player in the El Rancho cabaret. He was also one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show.
This Alabama seamstress’ arrest after refusing to sit in the back of a city bus triggered the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.
This baseball player was the first to have his uniform number retired across all Major League teams.
This freed slave turned abolitionist and orator once wrote in a letter to his former owner, "I am your fellow man, but not your slave."
This Texas-born civil rights leader co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and organized the 1961 Freedom Ride.
This diplomat played a part in trying to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
This professional boxer, known as the Galveston Giant, was the first African American World Heavyweight Champion.
Born into slavery, this Galveston political leader served on the Republican National Committee.
This El Paso physician challenged the exclusion of African Americans from the Democratic Party’s white primary elections.
This Waco native was a cook in the United States Navy who became the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
This Dallas NAACP leader who later served on the City Council once said, "For the first half of my life, they wouldn’t let me in the parks. Now they’re naming one after me."
This civil rights leader organized the 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
This All-American football player and lawyer became an actor and singer, starring in acclaimed stage productions of Show Boat, Othello, and Emperor Jones.
This Texan artist is best known for his murals, such as The Contribution of Negro Women to American Life and Education. He once said, "I began to see art…as a responsibility to reflect the spirit and style of the Negro people."
This co-founder of the NAACP spent his life campaigning for equal rights for African Americans but died a year before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed into law.
This Texan folklorist was the first African American member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the first African American vice president of the American Folklore Society.
This author’s 1937 novel opens with the following passage:
"Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly."
While traveling with Cabeza de Vaca in the sixteenth century, this Moroccan native became the first known person of African descent to set foot in the New World.
This native Houstonian was the first African American woman in Texas to be elected to the state Senate and the U.S. Congress.
This Houstonian was the NAACP’s leading statewide organizer during the 1940s and 1950s.
This singer, a native Texan, first performed the song "Ol’ Man River" in the original production of Show Boat and was among the first African Americans to appear on Broadway.
This world-famous contralto grew up singing in her church choir and performed an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. Conductor Arturo Toscanini reportedly said she had a "voice heard once in a hundred years."
This world-famous Parisian entertainer was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture.
This businessman and banker became the first African American millionaire in Texas.
This professional boxer held the title of World Heavyweight Champion for twelve straight years. He was also the first African American to play in a PGA tournament.
This former slave who founded the Tuskegee Institute recounts his memory of emancipation in his autobiography, Up From Slavery:
"After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see."
This Harlem Renaissance poet, novelist, and playwright also co-authored a children’s book called Boy of the Border with Arna Bontemps.
While serving as the NAACP’s chief counsel, this lawyer successfully argued the case of Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court, to which he was later appointed.
This Houston mailman successfully sued The University of Texas School of Law after being denied admission because of his race.
This scientist and inventor was the head of the Agriculture Department at the Tuskegee Institute. He encouraged farmers to grow peanuts as an alternative crop to cotton.
This athlete, nicknamed the “Buckeye Bullet” during his time at Ohio State University, explained his success by saying, "I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up."
This civil rights icon once said, "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice."
This poet and Wiley College professor and debate coach inspired the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters.
This abolitionist and women’s rights activist delivered her famous "Ain’t I a Woman?" speech at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio.
This eighteenth-century scientist and almanac author wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
"Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves."
This Underground Railroad conductor once said, "I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves."
This native Texan, known as the King of Ragtime, received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his contributions to American popular song.
This civil rights leader served as president of the National Council of Negro Women and wrote a column called "A Woman’s Word" for the New York Amsterdam News, a weekly African American newspaper.