Students gearing up for Black365 Knowledge Bowl

Several students showcased their knowledge of Black history at the Black365 Knowledge Bowl Competition last year. This year's competition takes place on Saturday (March 9)

Several students showcased their knowledge of Black history at the Black365 Knowledge Bowl Competition last year. This year’s competition takes place on Saturday (March 9)

PALMDALE – Sixteen students from four schools will face off this coming Saturday at the 3rd Annual Black365 Knowledge Bowl Competition.

The competition kicks off at 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at United Christian Fellowship, located at 37419 25th Street East in Palmdale.

Competing high schools include Palmdale High School, reigning champions SOAR High School and Amino Locke High School No. 2 out of Los Angeles. For the first time in the event’s history, a junior high school – SOAR Prep Academy in Lancaster – will enter the competition.

Established by Antelope Valley native and California State University Long Beach graduate, Jamaal Brown, the Black365 Knowledge Bowl Competition is a “Jeopardy-style” black history quiz competition with the top teams being awarded trophies, scholarship money and a chance to earn the title of “Knowledge Bowl Champs!”

Brown said the idea for the competition was sparked by his Black365 Calendar, a 12-month wall calendar that highlights an event in Black History every day. (Read more at

“A lot of the questions, themes and ideas come from the calendar,” Brown said.

Categories for this year’s competition include Living Legends, Conscious Quotations, Outstanding Women, African Flags, Who Am I (photo category), Athletic Feats, No One Ever Told Me, and facts from the month of March in the Black365 Calendar.

These are not your everyday, run-of-the-mill Black history questions, Brown says.

“When you talk to the lay person about Black history you always hear the same individuals – Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, maybe Malcolm X and maybe Madam C.J. Walker,” Brown said. “The purpose of this event is to highlight the fact that there are several areas of world history and life in general that have been positively and profoundly impacted by individuals of African descent.”

Brown said he purposely holds the competition in March because he believes Black history should be celebrated all year round. He also holds the competition in March so that competing students are studying for the competition throughout February – the month traditionally celebrated as “Black History Month.”

“What I’ve effectively done is created 16 Black history ambassadors at four different campuses,” Brown said. “Even if Black history isn’t being spoken of, formally, at schools, I’m certain that these 16 students are carrying the torch of Black history and educating their teachers and peers as they are preparing for this event.”

Sponsorships are still available for the 3rd Annual Black365 Knowledge Bowl Competition, Brown said.

“An account has been created to ensure that this event can be ongoing and continue to flourish and affect more people,” Brown said. “We’re looking to expand it next year to make it a national competition, where we have regional competitions throughout the year and then have the national championship in March. Funds are definitely needed to make that dream become a reality.”

There are established sponsorship levels of $50 (Silver), $100 (Gold), and $250 (Platinum). There is also a “Loving Sponsor” classification where  people can make donations from as small $1, Brown said.

To donate to this event or for more information, visit

  20 comments for “Students gearing up for Black365 Knowledge Bowl

  1. Always Learning
    March 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I think there is something to be said for this type of educational exercise. One of the most illuminating classes that I took in college was a history of the African in America. It went into discussions of the mechanics of the slave trade as well as other aspects of the African Diaspora. Africans have been in America (both North and South) almost from the very beginning of the initial Age of Discovery. An exercise such as this that encourages academic exercises through fun activities gets a wholehearted “thumbs up” from me. In fact, I think that studying the history of the African in America is an excellent field of study for ANY student of any type of history because it makes one challenge one’s prejudices and presumptions and forces one to look at the actual facts. There will be many facts that come out of the study of history that will make people uncomfortable: both black and white. Blacks will be uncomfortable when they read that whites were not the only slaveowners, and Whites will be uncomfortable when they realize that some of the most notable players in American history were Black. Not to mention, neither White nor Black can remain unmoved by the atrocities committed.

    Overall, bravo to the organizers. Hopefully it will continue to spur academic pursuits.

  2. Letlow
    March 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Many of the comments on this forum prove why an event like the Black Knowledge Bowl is so important. Yes, Blacks owned slaves, yes many Black households are lacking, yes many Black youths today take the wrong path, yes the prisons are filled with Black men. I, for one, am not disputing this. But how does hearing these statistics inspire and encourage Black youths at the cross roads in life to want to strive for something better. To think that there could be anything better?

    This Black Knowledge Bowl is for this purpose. To show these youths that, yes, many Black people make bad choices, but there are also those that make GOOD choices, and here they are. These are the people you need to emulate. This young brother is putting this all together on a hope and a prayer, and this should be good news. But instead, you flock to this forum to talk about all those negative statistics again. It’s like “how dare you have an event to celebrate the positive accomplishments of Blacks?” “You need to know that Blacks were slave owners!” “MLK would be ashamed of Black youths!” “How dare you have the nerve to be proud!” What a shame. It’s no wonder why many Black youths today think their life is worth nothing.

    And to answer someone’s question: The scholarships are given to the winners and participants of the Black Knowledge Bowl, which is open to youths of all ethnicities. This means if you participate, you have a shot at the scholarship, it has nothing to do with color. In fact, last year a white student was on the winning team. This means the white student was one of the recipients of the scholarship. smh!

  3. Gladys
    March 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I think the “knowledge competition” is great. That said, is there going to be an event called White Knowledge Bowl, or Hispanic Knowledge Bowl, etc? The premise is a super idea. Kids need to know and be tested on the history of this nation. I don’t agree with the name of the event. I don’t quite get how events can be named black, white, etc when everyone knows that sounds like reverse descrimination. Maybe they won’t say it out loud, but they are thinking it. How about, The White Plantation Owners Ball, or The White Avon Walk for Breast Cancer?

    • Letlow
      March 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm


      I have a neat little task for you… Think fast! Name 20 notable figures in the history of this nation. How many African Americans made your list (NOT COUNTING Obama, MLK, or Rosa Parks)? If it’s three or fewer, then our kids need a Black Knowledge Bowl.

      Name 10 Living Legends in the history of this Valley. How many blacks (NOT COUNTING Henry Hearns) made your list? If you asked a young Black man those same questions, what would his answers be? I think you see what I’m getting at…

      Kids do need to know and be tested on the history of this nation. I agree with you there, and that’s why they are taught this history in school. But young Black kids need role models and inspiration outside of athletes, rappers and gangsters. They need to know that becoming something “better” in life is within their reach. That people who look like them have made positive contributions to the world we live in, and so can they. The Black Knowledge Bowl serves this purpose. How does recognizing the contributions of one race negatively impact the contributions of any other race?

      And you lost me at the “White Plantation Owners Ball”. Do you seriously think the two are comparative? Do you actually think society should have a ball for human beings who took other human beings as slaves? I’m responding to you because you at least took the time to make a well thought out comment void of name calling and stereotypes. I thank you for that.

      • Dan
        March 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        I think there are too many people that like to talk about this one part of history without truly educating themselves about some of the particulars. Here are a couple pieces about that history that a lot of people seem to over look whether it be out of ignorance or it just doesn’t benefit their POV:

        And let us not forget that the slavery issue was not exclusive to early America, at that time there were much larger offenders. The Slaves imported to America between years 1450 to 1900 only accounted for 4.4% of world trade. Nobody makes a big deal about Brazil which accounted for 35.4% or the Spanish Empire at 22.1%.


        I’m not saying it’s not a dark part of our nations history but I think there are too many people still claiming damages done when none of these injustices have anything to do their current lives.

        It’s goes along with calling one’s self an African American, Asian American, or a Whatever American. These things are ridiculous. If you were born here in the USA, you are a American. Go to any other country, have you ever heard of a Asian German, African Greek, or a Latin Japanese. I am not saying we shouldn’t be proud of where we ultimately came from, but I think focusing on these trivial differences is part of why our country is on decline. There is too much focus being put on what separates us instead of what unites us. Even though I am not a fan of Obama he is not my African American President, he is my fellow American President (I know there are some who would debate that part).

        The cure for ignorance is education. But that education has to be all encompassing for it to truly be the cure.

        • sikntired
          March 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

          Well said, Gladys and Dan, it’s divisive, just like having 3 chambers of commerce.

        • Gladys
          March 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

          Well said Dan.
          I appreciate the information and thought that went into your comment. The points that you make are very relavant. I bet very few black people know all those stories, because they only hear about what happened here and are probably confused about how long ago it was and whether any of their fanily was part of that ugly history.
          My family escaped from Hungary and I have wondered how many of my relatives were killed by the Nazis. However, I do not hate Germans for what happened all those years ago.
          Any idea how to implement change without another civil war?

      • Gladys
        March 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm

        To answer the question about “The Ball”, no, definetly would not be okay to celebrate any issue around slavery other than the abolition. I was simply trying to make a point about the NAME of this event.

        I do understand that Black kids need to know the history and culture they are part of (all be it from a different perspective). The same can be said about all the different cultures we have here in the AV, including white kids. Let’s ask them the same questions. uhhhhh blank stares from all!

        Seems that much of the crime stats come from the kids we are referring to, so I do think that something does need to take place to help get them understand that while having their individuality, they can be socially conscious and set goals that include education and careers. Very few will actually become pro athletes or rap and movie stars. Instead they are becoming pimps, unwed mothers, welfare scammers and thieves.

        I honestly do feel that most of the problems that we, the public, citizens, residents of this valley, are experiencing with the young people are somehow related to lack of home training and easy access to technology. All these kids have cell phones, facebook, and either, little or no monitoring.

        Scientific and technological progress makes moral progress a necessity. As man’s power has increased, the checks and balances that restrain him from abuse must also be strengthened.

        Kids have so much power and are still looked at as being helpless victims when infact a large portion of the crime here is perpetuated by the youth. They need our help and people willing to help them have their hands tied because those kids moms (and dads) don’t think anything is wrong.

        Letlow, I get it, I really do get it. All the kids here need help and Black kids need to know their roots and history. I have often compared it to kids who have gone through adoption as babies. There is a piece missing from their puzzle.

        I do think the schools should have American History class that is more inclusive of Black History. Maybe if the Non-Black kids knew more about what took place in this country in the past, it would stop some of the problems happening now.

        • March 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

          I believe if the people who worked, sweated, bled, and died for their people knew how the kids today behaved…they would be saying “I did all this for YOU”? The people who made history did so for a better life regardless of whatever color they were. Many many white, brown, etc were involved in the black community to make it a better place. For what? MLK would be ashamed of the young people today. He was a really smart and kind man who paid the price. Most of us don’t know where our roots originated from, so how can we walk around and shove it in people’s faces? Be proud of where you came from? I came from California…simply put…not from some foreign land. Be proud to be God’s child first!!

          • Quigley
            March 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm


      • ...
        March 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        Who ever said Henry Hearns was a “living legend”?

  4. Jessica
    March 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I don’t think it is only for “blacks”. My child is competing, she was chosen to represent her school, and she is not African American. She is a stright “A” student and a History buff. I understand your dismay-but these are our kids. Instead of trash talking the competition lets support these children in their endevours.

    • Dan
      March 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      I agree Jessica, I think the focus shouldn’t be on the subject matter but rather that these kids are in a academic competition. We should be cheering them on and recognizing them for their academic achievements!

    • Palmdale_Steve
      March 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      If you go to the web site associated with the “Black365” calendar they talk about scholarships that are given out of the proceeds. Are those scholarships available to all children and not just from one race/ethnic group, perhaps based on economic needs regards of the color of precipitants skin color? Remembering and in honor of a speech given Wednesday, August 28, 1963.

      • Quigley
        March 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        Valid question regarding the scholarships…anyone have the answer?

        • Quigley
          March 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm

          Thanks for the info Letlow

          • Letlow
            March 8, 2013 at 11:48 pm

            Anytime! Cheers!

Comments are closed.