For a myriad of reasons, African American and all students in the Madison public schools learn snatches of African American history in a course here and there even though African American history is central to understanding American history. In an effort to help bridge the gap, 100 Black Men has hosted the annual African American History Bowl for the past 18 years On April 14, students from nine Madison middle schools and their supporters gathered at the Doyle Administration Building to compete for the honor of representing Madison at the 100 Black Men of America national convention in Atlanta, Georgia in an all-expenses paid trip. The
teams reflected the diversity of the Madison public schools with all of the students intent on bringing home the gold — and the trip. Panels of two students from each school took turns competing against each other in a timed round in which questions on African American history, both distant and recent, were fielded to the teams by moderator J.R. Sims. Students would hit their buzzer if they knew the answer to the question. If they failed to give the correct answer — with a panel of judges composed of Everett Mitchell, Dr. Sandra Adell and Wayne Canty providing the definitive rulings on the students’ answers — the other team was given the opportunity to give the correct answer.
After the smoke had cleared from the quarter final, semi-final and final rounds, Hamilton Middle School grabbed first place and the trip to Atlanta. But clearly the winners were all of the students who learned about the many contributions to America and the resilience of African Americans. It was also a nice refresher course for many of the adults in the audience. Hamilton hopes to join two other Madison teams that won the national competition in 1996 and 2008. Onward to Atlanta!