African American Spelling Bee Champ Makes History

Declared the champion, Zaila jumped and twirled with joy, only flinching in surprise when confetti was shot onto the stage.

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Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from Harvey, Louisiana celebrates after winning the finals of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Image via AP Photo/John Raoux

This article was republished here with permission from The Associated Press, however it is no longer available to read on Snopes.com.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Zaila Avant-garde understood the significance of what she was doing as she stood on the Scripps National Spelling Bee stage, peppering pronouncer Jacques Bailly with questions about Greek and Latin roots. Zaila knew she would be the first African American winner of the bee. She knew Black kids around the country were watching Thursday night’s ESPN2 telecast, waiting to be inspired and hoping to follow in the footsteps of…

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