Pop quiz: 20 things to know for Black History Month

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History buffs in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania: You think you know Black History, American history, the history that happened in your respective states.

Here are 20 facts to test your knowledge of Mid-Atlantic Black American history. [Hint: No Googling.]

New Jersey

  1. Which Black baseball player from New Jersey was the first to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards in his career?

  2. Who is the Black astronaut whose name is on a high school in New Jersey's second largest city, Jersey City?

    • A. Guion Bluford

    • B. Mae Jemison

    • C. Ronald McNair

  3. What New Jersey borough became the first independent, self-governing Black municipality north of the Mason-Dixon Line?

    1. A. Barrington

    2. B. Lawnside

    3. C. Tavistock

  4. What year was New Jersey's first Black congressional member Donald Payne first elected to office?

    • A. 1996

    • B. 1988

    • C. 1980

Larry Doby, the first Black player in the American League, poses proudly in his Cleveland Indians uniform in the dugout in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ill., on July 5, 1947.
Larry Doby, the first Black player in the American League, poses proudly in his Cleveland Indians uniform in the dugout in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ill., on July 5, 1947.

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  1. Who is the celebrated jazz musician buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Wilmington?

    • A. Donald Byrd

    • B. Clifford Brown

    • C. Cab Calloway

  2. What singer was once a student at the historically Black school Delaware State University in Dover?

    • A. Bob Marley

    • B. Betty Roche

    • C. SZA

  3. What school in Wilmington did Martin Luther King speak at during his only visit to Delaware in 1960?

    • A. Howard High School

    • B. P. S. Dupont High School

    • C. Wilmington High School

  4. Who was the first Black elected official in the state of Delaware?

    • A. Henrietta Johnson

    • B. Thomas Postles

    • C. William Winchester

Reggae legend Bob Marley, who once lived and worked in Delaware, during a performance,
Reggae legend Bob Marley, who once lived and worked in Delaware, during a performance,

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New York

  1. What New Yorker was the first Black woman to be appointed as a federal court judge?

    • A. Jane Matilda Bolin

    • B. Constance Baker Motley

    • C. Mary Johnson Lowe

  2. What New York school did the first Black Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis play for?

    • A. University of Buffalo

    • B. United States Military Academy

    • C. Syracuse University

  3. In what year was David Dinkins, New York City's first Black mayor, elected to office?

    • A. 1985

    • B. 1989

    • C. 1993

  4. What Rochester native is the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game?

    • A. Beatrice Howard

    • B. Harriet Washington

    • C. Maia Chaka

A yearbook entry of Beatrice Amaza Howard, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Rochester.
A yearbook entry of Beatrice Amaza Howard, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Rochester.

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  1. Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest Greek letter organization for Blacks, was founded in what Pennsylvania city?

    • A. Harrisburg

    • B. Pittsburgh

    • C. Philadelphia

  2. What is the only Black-owned radio station in Pennsylvania?

    • A. WDAS

    • B. WURD

    • C. WHYY

  3. Who is the first Black woman from Pennsylvania to be elected to Congress?

    • A. Crystal Bird Fauset

    • B. Summer Lee

    • C. Joanna McClinton

  4. What graduate of the historically Black school Lincoln University in Chester County gained fame for his literary works such as "The Weary Blues" and "The Ways of White Folks"?

    • A. Charles Fuller

    • B. Langston Hughes

    • C. August Wilson

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  1. What year did Kurt Schmoke become Baltimore’s first Black elected mayor?

    • A. 1984

    • B. 1987

    • C. 1990

  2. Which Maryland native was the first Black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest?

    • A. Augusta Chissell

    • B. Irene Morgan Kirkaldy

    • C. Pauli Murray

  3. What town became the first African American municipality in Maryland when incorporated in 1922?

    • A. Sugarland

    • B. Preston

    • C. Highland Beach

  4. In what Olympic games did Silver Spring native Dominique Dawes participate in as a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team known as "The Magnificent Seven"?

    • A. 1988 Olympics

    • B. 1992 Olympics

    • C. 1996 Olympics

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Black History Month Quiz Answers

New Jersey

1. C. Don Newcombe was born in Madison and grew up in Elizabeth. Newcombe, a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1949. In 1956, he became the first pitcher to win the National League MVP and Cy Young awards in the same season.

2. C. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City is named in honor of the second Black man to fly into space who was killed during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986.

3. B. Lawnside in southern New Jersey was developed in 1840 as a community for freed and escaped slaves and was incorporated as a municipality in 1926.

4. B. Donald Payne, a Newark native, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1987. He served for over two decades until his death in 2012. He was succeeded by his son Donald Jr. who still serves in that seat.


1. B. Trumpeter Clifford Brown, a Wilmington native who took the jazz world by storm in the 1950s before dying in a car accident in 1956, lies among some 1,000 people dating back to the Civil War who are buried in Mount Zion Cemetery.

2. C. SZA (born Solána Imani Rowe), the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, attended Delaware State University where she studied marine biology.

3. A. Howard High School (now known as Howard High School of Technology) was where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to 1,300 people in a public gathering sponsored by the Wilmington branch of the NAACP.

4. B. Thomas Postles, a laborer and small businessman, was elected to the Wilmington City Council in 1901.

New York

1. B. Constance Baker Motley in 1966 was appointed as a federal court judge, serving in the U.S. Southern District of New York for nearly 40 years until her death in 2005.

2. C. Syracuse University was the school Ernie Davis attended where he played as a halfback for the football team. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1961. However, Davis, who grew up in Elmira, never played an NFL game after being diagnosed with leukemia and would die from the disease in 1963 at the age of 23.

3. B. 1989 was the year that David Dinkins was elected as the first Black person to hold the office of New York City Mayor. He served one term before losing in his reelection bid in 1993.

4. C. Maia Chaka first served as a line judge during a September 2021 game between the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets. Chaka is a 2000 graduate of Edison Career & Technology High School in Rochester.


1. C. Philadelphia is the city where Sigma Pi Phi, the first Greek-letter society for Black Americans, was founded in 1904. It is designed for mid-career or older professionals. Famous members have included Martin Luther King Jr. and Arthur Ashe.

2. B. WURD is a talk-radio station that broadcasts out of Philadelphia on both AM and FM frequencies.

3. B. Summer Lee, who grew up in North Braddock, was elected last year to represent Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, which encompasses Pittsburgh and much of Allegheny County.

4. B. Langston Hughes was a 1929 graduate of Lincoln University. The school's library is named after him, and the school holds the personal library bequeathed by Hughes when he died in 1967.


1. B. Baltimore native Kurt Schmoke became mayor of his hometown in 1987. He served as the city's top official until 1999.

2. C. Pauli Murray, born in Baltimore, was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977 after a storied life that included graduating first in her class at Howard University Law School and co-founding the National Organization for Women.

3. C. Highland Beach was founded as a summer retreat for Black people in 1893 by Maj. Charles Remond Douglass, Frederick Douglass's son, after he and his wife were refused service from a restaurant at a nearby resort.

4. C. Dominique Dawes competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as part of the women's gymnastics team that won the first-ever gold medal for the United States in the women's team competition.

Ricardo Kaulessar is a culture reporter for the USA TODAY Network's Atlantic Region How We Live team. For unlimited access to the most important news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. 

Email: kaulessar@northjersey.com

Twitter: @ricardokaul 

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Here are 20 facts to test your knowledge of Mid-Atlantic Black history