Black History Trivia

The next time you host game night with family and friends, include these little facts in a test of Black History knowledge.

  • Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in 1773. Born in the Gambia and sold to the Wheatley family in Boston when she was 7 years old, Wheatley was emancipated shortly after her book was released.


  • “Bars Fight,” written by poet and activist Lucy Terry in 1746, was the first known poem written by a Black American. Terry was enslaved in Rhode Island as a toddler but became free at age 26 after marrying a free Black man.


  • Clotel: The President’s Daughter was the first novel published by an African American, in 1853. It was written by abolitionist and lecturer William Wells Brown.


  • Dubbed “Hip-Hop’s First Godmother” by Billboard, singer and music producer Sylvia Robinson produced the first-ever commercially successful rap record: “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugar Hill Gang. And along with her husband, she co-owned the first hip-hop label, Sugar Hill Records.


  • Renowned singer and jazz pianist Nat King Cole was the first Black American to host a TV show: NBC’s The Nat King Cole Show.


  • In 1981, broadcast journalist Bryant Gumbel became the first Black person to host a network morning show when he joined NBC’s Today show.


  • In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person to win an Oscar, for her supporting role in Gone With the Wind. Twenty-four years later, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win an Oscar, for his leading role in Lilies of the Field.