African American Debaters Make History

LogoFresnoStateSealNadia Lewis and Jamila Ahmed, African American students at Fresno State University in California, placed first and second at the recent Henry Clay Invitational Debates held at the University of Kentucky. They were the first African American women to earn the top honors in the 42-year history of the competition. Shanara Reid-Brinkley, director of debate at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Fresno State Collegian, “I do believe it is the first time in the history of national debate competition that two African American women have won the top two speakers at any national tournament.”

The Henry Clay Invitational Debates were established in 1971. It is one of the largest varsity debate competitions on U.S. policy issues. The Fresno State team competed against 286 speakers from 30 colleges and universities.

The topic for this year’s debate was: “The U.S. Federal Government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the war powers authority of the president of the United States in one or more of the following areas: cyber operations, indefinite detention, targeted killing such as drones, and deploying the armed forces into hostile places.”

Related Articles


  1. Yes sisters, the world is just beginning to understand the depth of knowledge, communication, understanding and ability that both of you possess.

    Perhaps, both of you need to pursue careers in the
    U. S. State Department/ and or United Nations and negotiate resolutions to many of the global roadblocks that keep the nations of the world in disagreement.

    Change is HERE!!!

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs