Black History Jeopardy Players
Jeopardy! Players Display Pride in Black History March 21, 2005
By Tai Shadrick, Times-News Staff Writer
This is Jeopardy - well, sort of.
There was no Alex Trebek, cameramen or large blue screen monitors. But there were eager contestants, a live audience, buzzers and a cash prize.
Four teams competed for a $200 grand prize when Frostburg State University's Black Student Alliance sponsored a "Jeopardy" game in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 16. The students selected trivia from six categories, including sports, civil rights, TV/movies, government, music and fashion. Answers included: - America's first black history wax museum is located in this town. - What is Baltimore? - She wrote "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." - Who is Maya Angelou?
Robin Wynder, adviser, said two of the teams, Unique Women and the Panthers, picked up a study packet ahead of time to increase their chances of winning. But as M.O.L.T. - a team created using the initials of its members' names only minutes prior to the beginning of the game - proved, it all came down to basic knowledge of black history and a quick buzzer finger to win the game.
"With the winning team, only one member was an original team member," Wynder said, noting several students had to drop out because of prior commitments. "The rest joined so she wouldn't miss out. I thought that was pretty neat."
The 17 contestants, including the Scholars team, took their direction from Lanee Matthews, the alliance's educational chair, who spearheaded the night's event. The BSA threw in some of its own touches to spice up the game and increase audience participation.
Audience wild card questions were asked at several points during the one-hour competition, to the delight of many students who were eager throughout the game to show off their own knowledge of black history.
Prizes were donated from Main Street Books, FYE, Blockbuster, the Diversity Center, Dining Services and the BSA. "It was pretty much a way to get the audience involved so it wasn't so much of a spectator show," Matthews said of the wild card addition. A $100 spirit award prize was offered to the team that showed the most spirit during the game, which M.O.L.T. happily walked away with, along with the grand prize, after team members playfully stripped and ran around their desk during introductions.
Other "Jeopardy" staples, such as the Daily Double, were carried over to the BSA game. Matthews said she was initially worried the infamous Frostburg winter weather would weaken the audience size, but she was excited to see the 40 or more students who came out to support the BSA. "I think we had a really good turnout and I'm pleased with the overall presentation and response," she said.
Matthews said BSA members were convinced prior to the start of the game that they wanted to put the show on again. "We already started talking, even before the event, about how to do it bigger and better next year," she said. "We could possibly have the whole thing on PowerPoint, a bigger room, more rounds and more categories so we can eliminate more teams." She said many students offered suggestions about how to step up the game, which the education committee is already considering. "One student gave me a suggestion on using black facts from the FSU campus. That was one thing I think we're going to think about incorporating next year."
Tai Shadrick, Cumberland Times-News
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008