washington, July 10 -- Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old schoolgirl from the state of Louisiana, scripted history on Thursday by becoming the first African-American contestant to win the hugely popular Scripps National Spelling Bee crown.

The achievement saw her break the Indian-American community's 13-year hold on the trophy that the immigrants had come to see as their stamp of arrival in the United States. She received a trophy and prize money of $50,000.

Avant-garde's winning word was "murraya" - a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers with overlapping petals.

The 14-year-old who had emerged as a popular contestant with quick and easy repartees with the competition's long-time pronouncer Jacqu...