Brains verse Brains:a battle of history knowledge

By Gus Bode

Black History Month Planning Committee sponsors 3rd annual knowledge bowl

With the Smooties, Humble but Lethal and the Exodusters all in position it was time for the games to begin. A competition that used wits rather than strength challenged each team to recall names and facts about various subjects in black history.

This year the Black History Month Knowledge Bowl took place in the Video Lounge of the Student Center, Saturday.


Each team comprised three students who are or have been enrolled in a course in the Black American Studies program.

Moderator and planner, Pamela Smoot, has been part of the Knowledge Bowl since its conception three years ago.

“I want students to know the achievements of black Americans,” Smoot said.

The bowl covered topics from the 1800s through the 1900s on people, places and things that affected the country as a whole.

Throughout the event the scores were close, with the Smooties leading most of the time. After a short intermission, each team came on strong, barely missing a question.

In the end it was the Smooties who took first place after answering a bonus question about Zora Neele Hurston.

Tameka Jackson, a senior in math; Kendra Dennis, a senior in history; and Eva Walker, a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling comprised the winning team.


Walker said she enjoyed the event because it was a good way to get people to learn history.

“It was fun, but it’s sad there weren’t a lot of people here to enjoy and learn at the same time,” Walker said.

Even though there were few people in the audience, those there said they enjoyed the event and it refreshed their memory on things they had forgotten.

Dennis said one of the best things about the event was that she got to use examples from class.

One of the main points Smoot stressed is the importance of knowing black history.

“This event has provided an opportunity for students who have taken a black history course to test their knowledge outside the classroom,” Smoot said. “Given the fact that all students have been in my class this has enabled me to see the fruits of my labor.”

Participants said they have learned a lot in Smoot’s classes and are amazed at how much information they have retained since taking her class – some, not having been in her class for at least two semesters.

“Dr. Smoot has taught us a lot,” Dennis said. “I’m glad I signed up for this, it was fun.”

Other participants included the Humble but Lethal team of seniors, Steven Haire, Thierry Fleurisca and Arlinda Mason. The Exodusters were juniors, Katrina Stackhouse and Patrice Dawson and sophomore, Lia Crawford. Each contestant received a certificate for participating.

“After students take a lot of classes they think it doesn’t mean anything, but doing this has let me and students know that is not always true,” Smoot said. “Next year I hope more students will come and participate or be a part of the audience.”

Reporter Samantha Robinson can be reached at