Student Curtly Mejias addresses the First Lady at the White House on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010. Students from schools across the London Borough of Islington were rewarded with a trip to the United States sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in London for winning an Islington Black History Month Essay Competition. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
It would be almost impossible not to concentrate on Alabama during Black History Month. Surely, Alabama will be one of the most goggled keywords for the month, as students around the country prepare their school reports.
Many know that Alabama is historic for its Jim Crowism. During that era, Alabama was the southern mecca for racial tension and injustice. Not recognized as Americans at that time, blacks had to endure separate and second rate waiting rooms, water fountains, bathrooms, schools, theater sections, and more. Black athletes had to form their own athletic leagues because they were not allowed to play in the same leagues as whites. Black politicians were frequently assaulted, jailed, and/or killed. Black entertainers were not allowed to perform at certain venues. When allowed to perform before an audience of whites, they had to enter the back door and couldn't be served at those venues. Furthermore, they were paid less than the white entertainers. Fortunately, we've come a long way as a country and state. As a result, Alabama has produced some of the country's most famous African American athletes, politicians, entertainers, educators, and activists.
Some people fancy themselves a history buff. For those of you who believe you're well versed on Alabama History, let's see how well you answer the following questions:
- She was born in Birmingham and became the first African American female Secretary of State. She is fluent in Russian.
- This legendary singer, instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer - born in Tuskegee, AL - was once the lead singer of the Commodores.
- This poet, playwright, educator, and orator was born in Birmingham, AL and later taught at Spelman College. She travels around the world lecturing about literature, black culture, women's liberation, peace, racial justice, and more.
- This American Idol was born in Frankfurt, Germany but raised in Birmingham, AL. During his time as a contestant on the show, he sported paraphernalia bearing the 205 area code. He wanted to spotlight Birmingham for being a historic city that had continued to make positive racial strides after the Civil Rights Movement.
- She is the current U.S. Surgeon General. In a country where obesity is an epidemic, she has been criticized for being overweight and setting a poor example for Americans. She responded to the criticism by admitting, " I struggle with my weight like most Americans." She vowed to make the fight against obesity in America a priority and proactively address her own weight issues.
- This NBA star and Olympic gold medalist was born in Leeds, AL. He has publicly stated that he might throw his hat into the 2012 Leeds, AL mayoral race.
- This activist, author, and educator was a member of the SNCC and Black Panther Party. She became the third woman in history to make the FBI Most Wanted List. She feels that prisons are obsolete and currently travels the country raising awareness about it.
- This Olympic silver medalist and boxer was born in Atmore, AL. Mike Tyson viciously bite him on the ear during a rematch. He publicly proclaimed that God healed him of a heart condition that jeopardized his career. In 2005, he became the first athlete to appear on Dancing with the Stars.
- This Heisman trophy winner and College Football Hall of Fame inductee became the first athlete to play in the All-Star Game of two sports: football and baseball. His slogan " _____ knows" has become part of pop culture. He went back to college after retiring from pro sports and earned his B.S. in Child Development.
- This comic, actor, and screenwriter was born in Mobile, AL. He is probably most remembered for his performance as the 7 UP GUY.
Answers: 1. Condoleezza Rice 2. Lionel Richie 3. Sonia Sanchez 4. Reuben Studdard 5. Regina Benjamin 6. Charles Barkley 7. Angela Davis 8. Evander Holyfield 9. Bo Jackson 10. Orlando Jones