In it’s 130 years of existence, the Harvard Law Review never elected a black woman as president. Now, 24 year old ImeIme Umana has changed that as she becomes the first African-American to lead a journal that has the largest reach of any law journal in the world.
The Review elected its first black man as president 27 years ago.
That was former President Barack Obama. It has had other minorities as presidents. And it has had female presidents, the first of whom was elected 41 years ago. But until now, never a black woman.
Umana was chosen the Harvard Law Review’s 92 student editors in what is widely considered the highest-ranked position that a student can have at the law school. The difficult election process required a thorough dissection of her work and application, and a 12-hour long deliberation of her portfolio.
In a chat with the Harvard Crimson, the school’s newspaper, Umana said “I didn’t realize civics could be so personal and so alive for a lot of the students. It taught me sensitivity in teaching but it also taught me, like the public defender’s service, to not assume certain backgrounds, certain reactions, certain lived experiences.”
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Umana grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She’s a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Last summer, she interned with the public defender’s office in the Bronx, and wants to serve as a public defender.