Buzzing in for Blackademics

On Friday night, students gathered to play a game that did not involve cards or alcohol or embarrassing dares – instead, it involved answering questions about the Little Rock Nine, Freedom Day and Katherine Dunham.

Sitting before an audience of about 50 students in Jack Morton Auditorium last week, members of the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes vied to become the champion of First Period: Blackademic in the kickoff event for Black Heritage Celebration to honor Black History Month.

The students demonstrated this year’s theme of “e pluribus unum,” or “out of many, one,” by working together as teams to answer questions about black history from six categories including political movements, pioneers and voting facts.

Senior Aundrea Williford, the second vice president of the Black Student Union is the chair for this year’s Black Heritage Committee. Williford said that she would like this year’s theme to prove that teamwork is an important aspect of great accomplishments.

“We are really trying to bring out the idea of one,” she said.

The goal of the evening, Williford said, was to “increase knowledge, have fun, get together and encourage everyone to meet new people.”

Freshmen Sally Nuamah and Andre Smith hosted the event and reminded the audience of the significance of the motto, which is inscribed on the seal of the United States.

“It is our goal,” Nuamah said at the start of the event, “to encourage unity as well as hope that you all learn a little more about black history.”

Smith reminded the contestants at the start of the game “the team that works together as one and encourages one another will be the champions of this event.”

The backdrop on the stage featured a giant blue screen – similar to the set of Jeopardy, which displayed each question and its point value. The game show consisted of three rounds, with eliminations at the end of each portion.

In the final round, the freshman team lost the battle to the seniors and players Shannon Holmes, a recent Martin Luther King Jr. Award recipient, Geoffrey Brown and Lisa Betty took home the title and prize.

“We definitely used the idea of working as one,” Holmes said at the end of the event. “I focused on concepts, Geoffrey is good with names and Lisa is good with dates. All together I think we worked really well.”

The game’s 50 questions covered dozens of aspects of black history ranging from topics on black activists like A. Philip Randolph and Victoria Jackson Gray Adams, to civil rights organizations such as the Black Panther Party, to political progresses such as the 15th and 24th amendments.

Smith and Nuamah- – the hosts whose quips kept the audience laughing throughout the night – worked together to coordinate the event.

“It was a learning experience looking up all of the categories,” Smith said, “because I really didn’t know that much about black history. I didn’t study it until ninth grade and even then it wasn’t a focus.”

Nuamah agreed that coordinating the event broadened her leadership talents. “You can participate in something,” she said, “but to organize it is a whole different experience.”

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