ImeIme Umana was elected president of the Harvard Law Review on 29th January 2017 by the review’s 92 student editors after an intense 12-hour period of two days. After 130 years of publishing, Ms. Umana emerged the law review’s first black woman president. Though the first black man graduated from Harvard Law School in 1869, President Barack Obama was not elected the first black president of the review, founded in 1887, until 1990. With Nigerian roots, 24-year-old Umana was born in State College, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Susquehanna Township High School in Harrisburg, where her father, who died in 2010, was a statistician for the state. She is a 2014 graduate of Harvard College, where she majored in government and African-American studies.
For those not in the know, The Harvard Law Review is often the most-cited journal of its kind and has the largest circulation of any such publication in the world. Being president of the law review is considered the highest-ranking student position at the highly competitive law school and a ticket to virtually anywhere in the legal world. Half of the current Supreme Court justices served on the Harvard Law Review, though none as its president.
ImeIme Umana on her emergence as the first black woman president told New York Times in an interview that, “It still feels like magic that I’m here. Why did it take the law review so long to elect a black woman? Ms. Umana said,“We’ve been systematically excluded from the legal landscape, the legal conversation, and we’re just now making some important inroads. I can’t help but think of the multitude of young black women who will never be anywhere near such an amount of privilege.I’m especially humbled to serve as the first black woman president of the law review because of them.”