[eDebate] Black Debate History

Sarah Jane Green sjsnider
Thu Apr 2 15:19:13 CDT 2009

While I agree with you Adam, that there is a lack of knowledge about
Black History in debate, there are quite a few influential and
interesting characters who do not meet your litmus test of being "top
speaker" or "winning the NDT or CEDA".

Hotep X debated for Brown University in the 1970's. Hotep X wasn't his
real name, but he used that name to mystify his white opponents by
pretending to be a black muslim in the early 70's. Word on the street
is that it really made some people afraid of him. He was in
semi-finals at the NDT although he was not a member of an "all black"

My knowledge goes dead for a little while, there is a big gap in what
I know. I might be mistaken, but I think Cleopatra Jones from the
University of Vermont was the first black woman to earn a top 10
speaker award at CEDA Nats.

Shanara Reid, who never debated with a black partner, or even had the
opportunity to qualify for the NDT was incredibly influential in the
history of black debate in the late 90's and continues today. She was
the first black woman to debate on the last day of CEDA Nationals.

While these accomplishments are all great, one thing Shanara and Cleo
both reminded me of, was that they didn't want to be the "best black
women" in debate, they would settle for just being remembered as great
debaters regardless..........

There are particularly a lot of black women in debate who get lost in
the shuffle as they never represented top speaker, or a championship
team but in their own way definitely influenced debate. It is perhaps
these stories that you might find the most interesting.

I hope you find what you are looking for.


2009/4/2 Adam Jackson <baltimoredebate at gmail.com>:
> You know what debate community? I need some info.
> For the past three years of my participation in college debate, I have come
> to realize something.
> I know very little about Black History in debate (outside of people randomly
> talking to each other about it, or mere myths that are perpetuated over
> time)
> So I want you all to help me out with some names and programs of some folks
> who have won the awards listed at the bottom. Please correct me if I'm
> wrong.
> Black Top Speakers at CEDA:
> Elizabeth Jones, UofL, 2004
> Dayvon Love, Towson, 2009
> Black Top Speakers at the NDT:
> ???
> First Black Person to Win CEDA:
> Rashad Evans with Sarah Holbrook, West Georgia, (dont know year)
> All Black Team Champions at CEDA:
> Dayvon Love and Deven Cooper, Towson, 2008
> Black Champions at the NDT:
> ???
> First All Black Team to Qualify for NDT:
> ???
> First Black Team to Qualify for Elimination Rounds at CEDA:
> ???
> First Black Team to Qualify for Elimination Rounds at NDT:
> ???
> Also, it would be useful if someone knows the first black top speakers and
> teams at these tournaments as well (since they're so prestigious):
> West Georgia
> Harvard
> Wake Forest
> "Northwestern"
> Cal Swings
> West Georgia
> JV/Novice Nats
> Kentucky
> Thank you and any info is much appreciated.
> --
> Adam J. Jackson
> Towson Debate...All Day
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