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1.  What and when is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on an African harvest festival; it was developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili. It lasts for seven days, beginning on December 26th.

Source: Chase's Calendar of Events, 2006, p. 631, 394 C387ce
2.  One of the greatest female jazz singers was born in Philadelphia. Who was she?

Eleanora Harris was born on April 7, 1915 at Philadelphia General Hospital. She would grow up to be Billie Holiday.

Source: Billie Holiday, 1995, p.18, Stuart Nicholson, 784.53 H724N

3.  Where and when was Marian Anderson born?

Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1897, and she died in Portland, OR on April 8, 1993. She was an African American contralto opera singer, and she was refused entry to the Philadelphia Music Academy on racial grounds. In 1955 she made her debut in opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Ulrica. She was the first black singer for the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

Source: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, v.1 p. 615, Stanley Sadie, 780.3 N42G2

4.  Who was the first African American woman elected to a state legislature?

Crystal Bird Fauset (1893-1965), of Philadelphia, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1938.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.262, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

5.  What was the first insurance company managed by African Americans?

The African Insurance Company of Philadelphia is the first known black insurance company. It was established in 1810. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

6.  Who was the first African American to be nominated as a presidential candidate in the United States?

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was nominated for the United States Presidency at the Republican Convention in 1888. He received one vote.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.313-314, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B

7.  Why is the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of the United States Army famous?
It was the first troop of free African Americans raised in the North during the Civil War. Many died at Fort Wagner, including their white commander, Robert Gould Shaw. Their saga is shown in the film "Glory."

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.431, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61b
8.  Who was the first African American woman to serve in Congress?

The first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives was Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm. She was a New York City Democrat and was elected on November 5, 1968 from the 12th District in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. She was sworn in on January 3, 1969 and was reelected six times.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.61, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

9.  Who was the first African American to serve in Congress?
Joseph Hayne Rainey, a Republican from Georgetown, S.C., was sworn into Congress on Dec. 12, 1870, when the House declared the seat of Benjamin F. Whittemore vacant. Rainey served ten years until March 3, 1879.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.59, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f
10.  Who invented the first automatic traffic light?

The first automatic traffic light was invented in 1923 by Garrett A. Morgan, an African American inventor in Cleveland, OH.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.283, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

11.  Who was the first African American woman astronaut?
Mae C. Jemison, from Chicago, IL, was the first African American woman astronaut. On September 12, 1992 she boarded the space shuttle Endeavor.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.621-622, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B