Two Atlanta Teens Make History At International Debate Competition

By Devon POV Mason | Shadow League Reporter 

Sixteen-year-old Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton (17) are both from Atlanta, and over the weekend they accomplished something that’s never been done in the prestigious summer debate competition hosted and held by Harvard University.

These two young ladies became the first Black duo to win Harvard’s international debate competition since the Harvard Debate Council was founded in 1892.



The brilliant duo beat out more than 100 debaters from around the globe.

Jackson and Stanton are both participants of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, which is founded by the university’s award-winning debate coach and bestselling author Brandon P. Fleming.

Fleming proposed the initiative to the university in 2017 as a way to advance on-campus diversity, equity, and inclusion at Harvard.

The duo of Jackson and Stanton posted an undefeated record at the competition and brought home a fourth consecutive win for the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project.

“We did it AGAIN!,” an announcement posted to Instagram exclaimed. “They have shown the world what’s possible when the playing field is leveled.”

The Harvard Debate Council is one of the oldest organizations at Harvard and hosts a residential program for extraordinary youth each summer.

The program also includes two weeks of prep and ends with a debate tournament. This year’s program was held virtually due to COVID-19 protocols.

Another crack in the proverbial glass ceiling as it pertains to Black people in America and especially Black women.

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