Community | Spotlight September 2020

The Atlanta Great Debaters

The Atlanta Great Debaters – Harvard Debate Competition Champion – Nationwide

Bounce salutes community activists and everyday neighborhood heroes like the Atlanta Great Debaters for their 3rd consecutive win at the prestigious Harvard debate competition.  Two of the team members made history themselves.

For the third year in a row, a team of African American students known as The Atlanta Great Debaters, defended and won the championship title for the international Harvard debate competition. Held virtually this year because of COVID-19, they competed against students from more than 25 countries.

During the final round, the judge panel declared their 3peat victory with a perfect 5-0 winning ballot.

The entire team is being recognized for doing “an awesome job,” but senior Madison Webb, the first Black female student, and sophomore Christian Flournoy, the youngest Black male student, secured the victory.

Madison Webb and Christian Flournoy (

Every year, Harvard Diversity Project recruits a cohort of talented Black youth out of an applicant pool of hundreds throughout Metro Atlanta. The program seeks students that have never been exposed to academic debate.

Students undergo a rigorous 10-month training regimen, where they are introduced to debate through the exploration of academic disciplines that foster critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation.

The program normally culminates with a summer residency at Harvard College, where students study academic debate alongside and compete against hundreds of gifted scholars from around the world. However, this year, it was all done online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the project, visit the Harvard Diversity Project ( whose end goal is to promote educational equity by creating opportunities for underserved youth to gain exposure and access to academic training that will distinguish them as top candidates in the college admissions process.