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Young historians excel in contest

They know the history of black people. Just ask them.

Ask which black American was famous for developing steroids for the treatment of arthritis. Ask who was referred to as the "Black Moses" for her work with the underground railroad to free slaves.

Who is the greatest black inventor of all time?

Pupils from Largo Central, Anona and Ridgecrest elementary schools in Largo and Ponce de Leon in Clearwater rattled off answers about as fast as judges could ask the questions last Friday during the second annual Black History Quiz Bowl at Largo Central.

Well, most of the time they answered quickly.

A tie-breaker question, "What sport did Michael Jordan recently go into?" brought blank stares and, finally, a reluctant, "I don't know," from one contestant and "Basketball!" from another.

But Neeta Sookhoo, a third-grader from Ridgecrest, knew who invented the traffic light and Tara Flaherty of Ponce de Leon and Erin Helgeson of Ridgecrest answered so many tie-breaker questions that judges finally gave up and declared them both winners.

Each of the four elementary schools sent three contestants _ a third-, fourth- and fifth-grader _ to the competition. Third-graders competed in seven rounds of questions. Fourth- and fifth-graders competed in 10 rounds.

Fourth-grader David Carlisle of Ponce de Leon took a first place in the competition last year and came loaded for bear this year, but wasn't prepared for Largo Central fourth-grader Freda Crayton. Freda won the fourth-grade competition.

Judges ran into problems again, however, when they could not break a tie between fifth-graders Dee Feazell of Largo Central and Zach Seufert of Anona.

Lillie McGarrah, principal of Largo Central and organizer of the event, finally came to the judges' rescue. She declared all were winners and promised extra trophies for those who had tied.

Other participants in the quiz bowl were Maggie Dickson of Largo Central; Stephen VanEvery and Kim Tran of Anona; Donna Keene of Ridgecrest; and David Carlisle and Rebecca Raj of Ponce de Leon.

Largo Central fourth-grader Teress Monroe, a finalist in the Pinellas County Urban League's Black History Month essay contest, set the mood for the event with a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Classmate Jessica Dauphin, president of the school's Student Multi-Cultural Committee, involved the audience in a reading of the poem, If All the Trees Were Oaks, ending with "Aren't you glad my good friend, Different though we be, We are here to help each other, I learn from you, and you, from me.


How would you fare in a Black History Quiz Bowl? Did you know that Dr. Percy Julian developed steroids for the treatment of arthritis? That Harriet Tubman was referred to as the "Black Moses," and George Washington Carver is known as the greatest black inventor and scientist of all time?

More questions

1. Who was the first black woman to write a Broadway play?

2. Which great South African leader won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984?

3. Who was the first outstanding African-American woman to speak out publicly against slavery?

4. Who invented the gas mask and the traffic light?

5. What was the name given to laws that did not provide for the equal rights of black Americans?

6. What is the motto of the United Negro College Fund?

7. Who was the first black person to win an Oscar and what was the name of the movie?

8. Who developed the preserving technique for blood transfusions?

9. Who was the first self-made black woman millionaire?

10. Who was the first black man to have his own TV show?


1. Lorraine Hansberry.

2. Desmond Tutu.

3. Sojourner Truth.

4. Garrett Morgan.

5. Jim Crow Laws.

6. A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.

7. Hattie McDaniel, Gone with the Wind.

8. Dr. Charles R. Drew.

9. Madame C. J. Walker.

10. Nat "King" Cole.