The experience of African Americans in the United States is integral to America’s heritage. The Black Saga Competition offers elementary and middle school students an excellent opportunity to learn about this important part of our national history through an exciting, competitive, and fun-filled forum.

The Competition is open to all Maryland students in grades 4-8. First, teams of students compete in school-level Black Saga Competitions. The top school teams advance to the Maryland State Black Saga Competition.

Students will be responsible for knowing the answers to more than 700 questions about the African-American experience. The timeline covers from the early 1600s-when the first 20 Africans came to America, and were enslaved in Jamestown, Virginia-to the present, when the Gates Foundation recently gave one billion dollars to help educate minorities.

The Competition involves teachers, parents, and principals in working together to ensure that students do their best in the competition.

“Not only has Black Saga given students knowledge, but by inviting them to the University, and generating their thirst for knowledge the Competition has given them a better sense of their future.”

Here’s a video from one of our previous competitions.

Nichelle Owens, Vice Principal
Templeton Elementary School
Prince George’s County

  • The Competition is open to all Maryland students in grades 4-8.
  • Participating elementary and middle-schools hold a “within school” Black Saga Competition in February, Black History Month. Students take a written test, and, based on their performance, are grouped in teams of three. The teams compete schoolwide against each other.
  • The top two teams from each school compete in either the Maryland State Elementary Black Saga Competition or in the Maryland State Middle School Black Saga Competition. The state competitions are held in March at the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Three top teams are chosen in the elementary competition, and three top teams are chosen in the middle school competition. Students on first-place teams receive $300 each; on second-place teams, $200 each; on third-place teams, $100 each.
  • The elementary school whose team places first receives $300, as does the middle school whose team places first.
  • The top ten elementary schools and the top ten middle schools each receive a plaque recognizing the students’ accomplishment.


  • Helps students, many for the first time
  • Recognize the great richness of America’s past through the lenses of history, geography, and economics
  • Sharpens students’ study habits and learning skills
  • Teaches students how to work successfully together in teams
  • Fosters parents’ involvement in their children’s education
  • Involves the entire family in the learning process
  • Is a multicultural learning activity

School systems are making great strides in enriching their social studies curricula to reflect the histories of all of the people who settled in this country. Students need to answer key social studies questions: What happened in the past? How am I connected to the people of the past? How can the perspective we have about our lives be viewed as part of the larger human story across time?

The Black Saga Competition addresses these questions, and others. Studying for the competition helps student learn a more inclusive history and better understand the past.

“The Black Saga Competition at Beltsville Academic Center is an . . . intangible component of our students’ academic success. However, it is just as important to our culture.”

Bill Veater, Principal
Beltsville Academic Center
Prince George’s County

“In helping my daughter prepare, I learned quite a bit about an area of history that was completely ignored when I was a junior high student.”

Ann E. Rogers, Ph.D., RN
Harper’s Choice Middle School
Howard County
Sponsors: This is sponsored by many generous donors from around the country.
Honolulu Pain Relief Center
New York Car Accident Chiropractor
Office of Provost
Behavorial and Social Sciences College
Denver Plain Business Network
Louisville Chiropractor
Clovis California Chiropractor
Review Trust
Schools: Principal or school representative must register the school through theWeb Registration Form and mail in the printable registration form with $50.00 check to activate the Teacher Registration ID and Password, and Student Registration ID and Password. Please make the check payable to:

Black Saga Competition. Mail in the form by December 10, 2000 to: 

Black Saga Competition, Department of Geography
1153 LeFrak Hall, University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742.

Students and Teachers: Using the Registration ID and password, fill in the Student or Teacher Registration form.

Guests: Fill in the Guest Registration Form.


After your school has sent in the registration fee, you’ll receive:

  • Black Saga: The African American Experience (reference material)
  • The 2000-2001 Black Saga Competition Question and Answer Book or CD-ROM disk
  • Guidelines for selecting school teams and holding a Black Saga Competition in your school
  • Certificate of Achievement template, which you can copy and give to students participating in the school-level Black Saga Competition
  • Procedures for the Maryland State Black Saga Competition



1) Using the guidelines provided, hold a Black Saga Competition in your school in February 2001. The top two teams from your school will compete in the Maryland State Elementary Black Saga Competition or the Maryland State Middle School Black Saga Competition. The state competitions will be held in March 2001.

2) Provide awards for members of the teams placing first through fifth in your school’s Black Saga Competition.


  • Visit the Black Saga Competition Web site at www.blacksaganews.com
  • Contact Dr. Charles M. Christian in writing (see address in “How to Register”); or by phone at (301) 405-6794; or by e-mail at cc38@umail.umd.edu.