J. Richard Gentry Ph.D.

Raising Readers, Writers, and Spellers

Do You Know More Black History than a Fourth Grader?

A better understanding of black history might improve race relations.

Posted Sep 15, 2014

Do You Know More Black History than a Fourth Grader?

Tate and His Historic Dream is a new inspirational book about a fourth grader who develops an appreciation for black history. In light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and a call by many to reassess and understand race relations in America, it occurs to me that how we think and act in race-related situations is affected by our understanding and  personal history regarding race. Our past is part of our present. That being said, how much black history do you know? What about your fourth grader? Take this short quiz based on the new book by Bernard C. Turner and Michelle Duster to find out.

History comes alive in both art and inspiring words from twenty-eight black leaders in American history who speak to Tate in a dream. Listen to the voices of ten of them below. How many can you identify?

  1. __________ “I was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868, and was able to get my education at Harvard University. In 1896, I published The Suppression of the African Slave Trade and in 1899, The Philadelphia Negro. One of my most famous books is the Souls of Black Folk, which was published in 1903. Ida B. Wells and I were both founders of the NAACP in 1909.”
  2. __________ “I worked at Tuskegee Institute with Booker T. Washington in 1896 and taught farmers about the necessity of replenishing nitrogen in the soil by rotating the crops. I also discovered many uses for the peanut, including dyes, glue, marble, printer’s ink, and more. Uses for the sweet potato and pecans included glue, vinegar, synthetic rubber and material for paving highways. Many of these products were developed and used by the U.S. Army in World War I.”
  3. __________ “I gave a famous speech in 1863 and urged black men to join the Union Army. There were over 200,000 people who served as scout, spies, blacksmiths, nurses, cooks and guides.”
  4. __________ “The Underground Railroad was not a train. It was a path that used secret codes and safe houses to help lead slaves to freedom. I was one of the scouts! I also helped out as a nurse and a spy.”
  5. __________ “I was born Isabella Baumfree in 1799 and was a slave until 1827 when I was freed because of the New York State Emancipation Act. In May 1851, I gave a speech called “Ain’t I a Woman” at a suffrage meeting in Akron, Ohio. I lived until 1883 and spent almost 40 years speaking about abolition and the rights of women.”
  6. __________ “I served as one of 180,000 black men who enlisted in the Union Army in 170 regiments during the course of the Civil War. I became the first black governor of Louisiana in 1872.”
  7. __________ “I was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1908. I fought against legal discrimination on the now famous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. I was the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court justice.”
  8. __________ “I was born around 1753 and was brought to Boston in 1761 when I was about eight years old. I never saw my parents again. I learned how to read and write from my master. I have his last name. I wrote my first published poem in 1770, and then I had a chance to go to England because of my writing. In 1773 my first whole book of poems was published.”
  9. __________ “I came to what is now the United States at an early age in the late 1770s. I built a home and trading post in the city that’s now called Chicago. People credit me with being the founder of Chicago.”
  10. __________ “In 1926, I started Black History Week, which later became Black History Month. We decided to have it in February because that’s the month both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass have birthdays.”

How is history related to Psychology Today, peoples’ attitudes, and education? I suspect a deep connection.

Answers: 1) W.E.B. DuBois; 2) George Washington Carver; 3) Frederick Douglass; 4) Harriet Tubman; 5) Sojourner Truth; 6) Captain Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback; 7) Thurgood Marshall; 8) Phillis Wheatley 9) Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable; 10) Carter G. Woodson.

If you didn’t do very well on the quiz, consider reading the book and give it to a fourth grader.

Click here for more information about Tate and His Historic Dream by Bernard C. Turner and Michelle Duster.

(Dr. Gentry is the author of Raising Confident Readers, How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write--from Baby to Age 7. Available on Amazon.com. Follow Dr. Gentry on Facebook and on Twitter.)

More Posts