African Americans in Arts & Entertainment Quiz
Who was the first African American to win an Academy Award?
- She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind (1939). Sidney Poitier was the first African-American man to win an Academy Award. He was awarded the Oscar for playing Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963). A veteran of vaudeville and Harlem nightclubs in the 1910s and 20s, Ethel Waters later starred as a dramatic actress on Broadway and in the movies and became one of America's highest-paid entertainers.
At the Academy Awards held in 2002, which actors won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars?
- Washington won for his role as a bad cop in Training Day and Berry earned the trophy for her decidedly unglamorous turn in Monster's Ball. It was the first time in Oscar history that two black actors won the top acting awards.
Dancer-choreographer Alvin Ailey's best-known solo piece, Cry, was originally intended as a tribute to whom?
Who wrote the jazz classic "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"?
- Musician-composer-bandleader Ellington composed many famous jazz works, including "Solitude", "Mood Indigo", "Sophisticated Lady", and "Take the A-Train", either by himself or with his collaborator Billy Strayhorn.
Which African-American entertainer was the first to star in his own television series?
- Cole's variety series, The Nat King Cole Show ran for 64 weeks in 1956 and 1957 on NBC. Cosby was the first African American to star in a dramatic television series, I Spy, which co-starred Robert Culp and ran from 1965 to 1968.
Which record company was founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. in Detroit in 1959?
- Motown is a nickname for Detroit, the Motor City, and most of the company's earliest hit recordings were made by artists from Detroit, including the Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Temptations. The "Motown sound," which became highly popular nationwide, reflected the rhythms of the city and the culture of its black neighborhoods.
In 1955, contralto Marian Anderson became the first African American to sing on stage at which auditorium?
- She debuted as Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball).
Singer-actor Paul Robeson starred in the musical Showboat in 1928, singing his famous rendition of which song?
- Robeson also became an accomplished Shakespearean actor, starring in stage productions of Othello in London and New York.
Who was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize?
- She won the prize in 1950 for her poem Annie Allen. Walker did win the prize in 1983 for her novel The Color Purple, but she wasn't the first.
The Harlem Renaissance, a period of artistic flowering among African-American writers and artists that was centered in Harlem, occurred roughly during which decade?