Outstanding African Americans Activity
Thurgood Marshall said "Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place."

Directions: Click on the link to go to a web site with the answer to the question. The answer is often on the linked page.
A few web sites require you to use an appropriate link to another page that has the answer.
Hey, Mrs. O! a link is broken! - Use your Internet research skills to find the answer.

1. What remarkable speech did Sojourner Truth give to the Women's Rights Convention?


Read the speech. What point is she making in the speech?


Sojourner Truth was a former slave. In which state was she held as a slave?


2. Watch Amanda Gorman recite her Inauguration Day poem "The Hill We Climb". What is the theme of her poem?



3. When Wilma Rudolph was a child something happened to her that makes her 3 Olympic gold medals all the more amazing.
What happened to her?


4. What do you think is Mae Jemison's most remarkable accomplishment? Explain your choice.



5. Judith Jamison is a famous dancer. She ran the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.
Summarize - What does she look for in a dancer?



6. What kind of music is Scott Joplin famous for composing?



7. The Medford Point Marines are notable because ...


8. For what contribution to medicine is Dr. Charles Drew known?



9. Predict - How many Africans Americans do you believe served in the Revolutionary War Army?

Check - How many African Americans served in the Revolutionary War Army?


What role did James Armistead Lafayette play in the American Revoluion?


10. Representative Barbara Jordan served on what famous congressional committee? What historic role did she play?


Rep. Jordan was the first woman and the first African-American to give the keynote address at Democratic National Convention
1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address. In the speech she said...

"Who then will speak for the common good?

This is the question which must be answered in 1976: Are we to be one people bound together by common spirit, sharing in a common endeavor; or will we become a divided nation? For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future. We must not become the "New Puritans" and reject our society. We must address and master the future together. It can be done if we restore the belief that we share a sense of national community, that we share a common national endeavor. It can be done.

There is no executive order; there is no law that can require the American people to form a national community. This we must do as individuals, and if we do it as individuals, there is no President of the United States who can veto that decision." Rep Barbara Jordan


11. He appeared before the Supreme Court 32 times and won 29 of those cases.
Which Supreme Court Justice was known as the "little man's lawyer"?


Why was he called this?


Extended thinking: How did his work contribute to the Civil Rights movement?


12. What was Constance Baker Motley's greatest accomplishment?



13. Ray Charles overcame many challenges in his life.
Which do you think was his greatest challenge? Why?



14. Susie Baker King Taylor contributed to her community in several ways. List two.



15. Katherine Dunham was a woman of many accomplishments.
List three of them using the resources in the Library Of Congress web site.



16. At the summer Olympic Games in 1968, two black athletes made a silent protest for equality.
Who were these men?


Was this action appropriate?


17. Bessie Virginia Blount invented several devices. Describe the benefits of her work.


18. An aircraft carrier is named after Doris Miller. Why was he given this exceptional honor?



19. Clementine Hunter painted thousands of folk art paintings in her lifetime.

How did she earn a living?



20. Trumpeter, Louis Armstrong, did something reckless as a kid. It changed his life.
What did he turn to that became his passion?



21. Diane Nash struggled with something as she worked for civil rights.
How did her decision contribute to success?



22. How has Colin Powell or Oprah Winfrey contributed to shaping the world?



23. "No African American soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II".
Thankfully, this has been corrected. Select one recipient and note his accomplishment.



24. Langston Hughes was an extraordinary poet. Listen to "Dream Deferred".

What do you believe is his dream deferred?



25. Gordon Parks, Sr. was a prolific ...


Use your online research skills to ascertain the answers to these questions

26. What happened to a young girl named Ruby Bridges?


27. Who was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
What conflict’s resolution earned him the award?


28. What was Rebecca Lee Crumpler's remarkable accomplishment?



29. Mose Wright's act took great courage. What did he do?


30. Frederick Jones was a prolific inventor. How did he gain the skills necessary to accomplish so much?


31. How was Katherine Johnson important to the US space exploration push?


32. Thirty-nine African Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Look into the story of one of them. Decribe it here.


Crispus Attucks, an African American who escaped slavery in Colonial America,
was the first man to die for the cause of liberty. He was killed at the Boston Massacre.

Extend this Activity:

* There are many outstanding African Americans. Research an outstanding person from/in your community or state.

How have they contributed to your community?

Extend your efforts by creating: A Prezi presentation, a Voki, a web site or a digital video about this person.

* Thirty-nine African Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Look into the story of one of them. Decribe it here.


* President Barack Obama, stated that "we have more black men in prison than we have in our colleges and universities."
Fact check this statement. Use the data in this article. Are there truly more young black men in prison than in college?

* Percy Julian - forgotten genius | * The Common Good - Rep. Barbara Jordan's historic speech

* Consider the Emancipation Proclamations | * Mystery object challenge -problem based learning

* Spread of slavery in USA map - may be surprising to you

* What are the demographics of your legislature?

* Explore the connection between Phillis Wheatley and George Washington, who was a slave owner.

* What percentage of the delegates, to the Second Continental Congress, owned slaves?
(Need help with percentages? MathFLIX | Khan Academy)

How did that impact the Constitution of 1787?

* What percentage of the US population are African American? Facts about US Black Americans

*Calculation required - what percentage of the original 13 colonies had people held in slavery in 1790? See this map

Want to find out more?

Elizabeth Freeman - Liberty's Kids episode US Census African-American History Month
StoryCorps: Reflecting on Democracy and Segregation The Abolishionists - American Experience
StoryCorps: Standing With Dr. King in Memphis Uncover the uncommon life of Thomas Wiggins
Civil Rights History - History Channel Eyes on the Prize - American Experience
Civil Rights - What are yours? Features for Black History Month - National Archives
The HistoryMakers.com - African American history archive MathFlix - Routes on the Underground Railroad
Government - and the issues surrounding Diversity Estimating Distance on the underground railroad pt 1
Slaves helped build the U.S. Capitol Estimating Distance on the underground railroad pt 2
Library of Congress - Civil Rights primary sources | Black History Month Estimating Distance on the underground railroad pt 3

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2000 Cynthia J. O'Hora, Updated 1/2024
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

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Aligned with U.S. Common Core Standards - English Language Arts - Informational text and Writing