Black History Reading Comprehension

Motivate English Language Arts learners with this free printable informational text for 3rd grade and up. Read and test reading comprehension online or print for offline use.

Who is Afrika Bambaataa?

Afrika Bambaataa is one of the fathers of hip hop.

His original name was Kevin Donovan. He was born in 1957 and grew up in The Bronx. As a child, he heard a lot about the black liberation movement, and was a founding member of the street gang, The Black Spades.

Donovan's life changed when he won an essay contest that earned him a trip to Africa. His visits to African communities inspired him to want to to stop the violence and create a peaceful community in his own New York Bronx neighborhood.

In Africa, he was also inspired to change his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim, the name of a Zulu chief who led a popular rebellion in South Africa.

Afrika Bambaataa returned to the US and began to think about how he could turn his gang skills to peacemaking.

Bambaataa was a music lover and had a huge collection of records. Along with other DJs, Bambaataa began to host South Bronx block parties. Here, the DJs mixed songs from different records together and started to use the term "hip hop" to describe this new culture of music, lyrics, dancing, and art. Hip hop soon became a way for African Americans to express the hardships of city life.

Bambaataa formed the Universal Zulu Nation and tried to use hip hop to keep angry kids out of gangs. Many artists and gang members say that hip hop saved their lives.

In 2012, Afrika Bambaataa's work was recognized and he was given a three year appointment as a visiting scholar at Cornell University.

What was Afrika Bambaataa's original name?
Zulu Aasim
Donovan Spade
Kevin Donovan
Kevin Donovan What street gang did Donovan start?
The Black Spades
Zulu Nation
African Chiefs
The Black Spades What was the prize for an essay contest that Kevin Donovan won?
$500
a trip to Africa
a record collection
a trip to Africa Where was Afrika Bambaataa given an appointment as a visiting scholar?
The University of South Africa
Universal Zulu Nation
Cornell University
Cornell University What did the trip to Africa inspire Kevin Donovan to do?
return home to make his Bronx neighborhood more peaceful
change his name to Afrika Bambaataa
Both of these are true.
Both of these are true. From whom did Afrika take his name?
an African Zulu chief
an African village
a South Bronx gang
an African Zulu chief How did Afrika Bambaataa get kids to leave gangs?
He told them about his trip to Africa.
He started hip hop music and dance as an alternative.
He paid them.
He started hip hop music and dance as an alternative.

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