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Bowl promotes black history


By Aaricka Washington

After the four teams confirmed their wagers, they prepared for the host Eric Love, director of Diversity of Education and Multicultural Affairs, to give them the final question of the night.

“This famous blackface minstrel is mostly considered the ‘most potent device of oppression’ for black men,” he said.

As soon as the Jeopardy song, also called “Think Music,” started playing, the groups started deliberating on possible answers and writing the one they thought was correct on the paper given to them.

These groups were participating in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center’s annual Black Knowledge Bowl.

The last-place team, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, gave their answer first: “What is Sambo?”

Even though they answered correctly and earned 500 points, it only took the team out of the hole.

After hearing the right answer to the question, a campus singing group, Voices of Hope, wrote, “Birth of a Nation,” and lost 800 points. 

Then Black Men, a group of black male students, wrote “Jim Crow” as its final answer and lost 4,000 points.

However, Higher Purpose, a group of sophomore Hudson & Holland program scholars, answered correctly and ended up winning the game.

Sophomore Destiny Booker sat in the front row to support her group, Voices of Hope. She said the event was lighthearted and fun.

“This was my first one,” Booker said. “I heard it was really excited to see everyone race for the answers.”

The four teams — Higher Purpose, Black Men, Phi Beta Sigma and Voices of Hope — all answered various questions from several categories in a Jeopardy-style format of three rounds, a final round and Daily Doubles.

Daniel King, a graduate assistant at Neal-Marshall, said the students were given a study packet weeks in advance that had 14 different categories that would possibly be in the Bowl. Ten of those categories were chosen out of the 14 to be in the actual competition. Those 10 categories included “It’s a Scientific Fact,” “Black Education,” “Black at IU” and “Black Rebels.”

King said to further aid the participating students, each of the coaches for the Black Knowledge Bowl recorded a lecture online and gave an opportunity for the students to listen to that lecture. King said this bowl is their big capstone for Black History Month events at Neal-Marshall.

“It’s just to promote in the context of Black History Month,” King said. “It provides a way to apply that knowledge with a great incentive. It’s really just a great opportunity to learn cool things about African Americans, particularly African Americans with IU, that taught at IU and played sports at IU and just black people in general.”

This is Higher Purpose’s second year in a row of taking home the $300 grand prize.

Sophomores Mustapha Baryoh, Brandon McGhee and Aaryn Eady playfully patted their team captain on the back, sophomore Isaiah Sloss, giving him much of the credit for the win.

“This is our captain right here,” Baryoh, McGhee and Eady said simultaneously.
Sloss gave credit to his teammates.

“I have very wonderful teammates,” Sloss said. “They have a ton of things going on in their lives, but they helped bring it together. Everyone did more than their part.”

In order to win the game, Higher Purposes followed a specific strategy by capitalizing each other’s strengths.

“Basically our studying strategy was we took everything, broke it down, went over all the material together and then separated it up and made sure that multiple people were responsible for the same part,” Sloss said.

Eady chimed in, saying teamwork makes the dream work.

“We knew that if we had a category down pat, then we were buzzing every question,” Eady said. “If we weren’t really familiar then we would back off a little bit. Last year we got a little hyped. This year we played it safe.”

Eady said she noticed the other teams were on their “A game” this year and that all the teams did well.

“It’s really about having a good experience and learning about our history,” Eady said.  “That’s what’s most important — building community within each other, as a team and within different groups, that’s what’s more important to us.”

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