Black History Spelling Bee Launched

Shown is organizer Lydia Faida Jackson-Bell with first place winner Toniee Williams.
In 2021, Zaila Avant-Garde, age 14 from Harvey, Louisiana became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in almost 100 years. To ensure that Jacksonville students stay on the map for academic wordsmithing, the inaugural ‘Black Inventors and Their Inventions’ spelling bee was held inside the Community Rehabilitation Center.
“Each year Scripps National Spelling Bee host its contest but I never see African-American students celebrating, only Asians, Caucasians or East Indians, which gives the impression that our children are not smart enough to be winners,” said organizer Lydia Faida Jackson-Bell, Director of Herstory Reading Foundation. It was vital to the collaborators the Bee reiterate the importance of Black history without the dominance of slavery as a foundation to our history. The contestants were Toniee Williams, 16, (William M. Raines Senior High School – first place (prize $300); Jeremiah Barrington, 14, (First Coast High School) second place, $150 and Saleya Grant, 14, (Jean Ribault High School), $100, third place.

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