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Black history contest challenges, entertains

  • Black History Trivia Contest
    Black History Trivia Contest  Contestants share a laugh during the 10th Annual Black History Contest, which was sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Forum.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
  • Black History Trivia Contest
    Black History Trivia Contest  Contestants on the winning team included (left to right) Celestine White, Michael Bagge-Hansen and Michael Stump.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
  • Black History Trivia Contest
    Black History Trivia Contest  Gilbert Stewart and Vernon Hurte celebrate a correct answer during the contest, which had contestants answering questions on people ranging from President Obama to Harriet Tubman.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
  • Black History Trivia Contest
    Black History Trivia Contest  Michael Stump and Michael Bagge-Hansen ponder a question during the contest. The audience was able to participate when the contestants were stumped.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
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Answering questions on subjects ranging from Harriet Tubman to President Barack Obama, six William & Mary students, faculty and staff members battled it out last week to see which team would claim the victory in this year's Black History Trivia Contest. The contest, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, was held in the Sadler Center on Feb. 19 and sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Forum.

"I did not have Black History in school like many others who come to the event," said Lydia Whitaker, the event's organizer and administrative manager in the Department of Applied Science. "It is incumbent upon all of us to know our history. If you don't know your past you don't know your future, as the saying goes. It's how we move forward. This event is an excellent opportunity for diversity. We should all celebrate the wonderful legacies of great African-American scientists, inventors and civil rights activists."

On the gold team this year were Michael Stump, director of internal audit; Michael Bagge-Hansen, a graduate student; and Celestine White, administrative specialist in the provost's office. On the green team were Susan Grover, associate professor in the School of Law; Gilbert Stewart, project manager for facilities planning design and construction; and Vernon Hurte, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. The judge was Charlotte Brown, and Cheryl Pope served as the scorekeeper.

About 40 members of the William and Mary community attended the event and had the chance to participate and win prizes when the team members were stumped. The audience added to the light-hearted nature of the event, yelling out suggestions and jokes throughout the contest. In the end, the gold team took this year's title, beating out the green team 2,300 to 700.

But the event was about more than winning, organizers and participants said.

"I truly enjoyed this year's Black History Trivia event," said Hurte. "I am always challenging our students to be knowledgeable about the accomplishments and efforts of those who have gone before us, so this event gives us a chance to test our own knowledge of Black history, past and present. Plus, it's always wonderful to have the opportunity to have some fun with colleagues from across the campus community."