Hampton University was the correct answer to a Jeopardy! clue on the Tuesday, June 9th episode of one of America’s favorite quiz shows. Under the category “Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” the question was: “This U. near the VA. ‘Roads’ region has an oak tree where the Emancipation Proclamation got its first southern reading.” Contestant Zach Newkirk answered correctly and gained $2,000 for the question.
“We are so pleased that an iconic television program such as Jeopardy! featured Hampton University as the right answer for a clue in the HBCU category on last night’s episode. The majestic Emancipation Oak, where Mary Peake offered the choice of education, is an important part of our historic legacy and mission at Hampton University,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “It was empowering to see that Jeopardy! recognizes the national treasures that HBCUs are to the entire nation.”
The Emancipation Oak stands near the entrance of Hampton University. In 1863, the members of the Virginia Peninsula’s black community gathered to hear a prayer answered. It was the site of the first Southern reading of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, an act which accelerated the demand for African-American education.
This oak also served as the first classroom for newly freed men and women, taught by Mary Peake, daughter of a freed African-American woman and a Frenchman. With limbs sprawling over a hundred feet in diameter, the Emancipation Oak is designated as one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by National Geographic Society.
Jeopardy! features a quiz competition in which contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in the form of questions. Since its inception, the daily syndicated version has featured Alex Trebek as host. With over 8,000 episodes aired, the daily syndicated version of Jeopardy! has won a record 33 Daytime Emmy Awards as well as a Peabody Award.