African-American Firsts Quiz
Who was the first African-American Nobel Peace Prize winner?
- Ralph J. Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King became the second African-American Peace Prize winner in 1964.
Who was the first African-American millionaire?
- The first black millionaire was Madame C. J. Walker, an entrepreneur who invented black hair care products in the early 1900s and launched an enormously successful business. In 2001, Robert Johnson, owner of Black Entertainment Television, became the first black billionaire; Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman billionaire in 2003.
Who was the first African-American Miss America?
- Vanessa Williams, 1984, representing New York. When controversial photos surfaced and Williams resigned, Suzette Charles of New Jersey, the runner-up and also an African American, assumed the title.
Who was the first African-American senator AFTER Reconstruction?
- Edward Brooke (R-Mass.) became the first African-American senator since Reconstruction, serving from 1966–1979.
Who was the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city?
- In 1967, Carl Stokes became mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, making him the first black mayor of a major U.S. city. Tom Bradley became the first black mayor of Los Angeles in 1973, and David Dinkins became the first black mayor of New York City in 1989.
Who was the first African American to win an Oscar?
- In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar, for her supporting role in Gone With the Wind.
Who was the first African American to reach the North Pole?
- In 1909, explorer Matthew A. Henson accompanied Robert E. Peary on the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole.
Who was the first African-American heavy weight champion?
- In 1908, Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns to become the world's first African-American heavyweight champion.
What was the first African-American tennis champion?
- In 1957, Althea Gibson was the first black person to play in and win Wimbledon and the United States national tennis championship. She won both tournaments twice, in 1957 and 1958. In all, Gibson won 56 tournaments, including five Grand Slam singles events.
Who was the first African-American Rhodes scholar?
- Philosopher Alain Locke became the first African-American Rhodes scholar in 1907.