In 1990, Barack Obama, 28 at the time, made history as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Almost three decades later, ImeIme Umana, a Pennsylvania native of Nigerian descent, has become the first black woman elected president of the 130-year old law journal.
A 2014 Harvard College graduate, Umana studied government and African-American studies and also served as president of the student advisory committee at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. She is now a joint degree candidate with Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Umana called her election by the publication’s editorial board a “great privilege.”
Umana interned last summer at the Bronx Defenders and plans to intern this coming summer at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
As Harvard Law Review president, Umana will lead a team of more than 90 student editors. Published every month from November to June, the student-run journal has grown to become the most circulated law journal in the world.
Outgoing president Michael L. Zuckerman told Vibe that Umana’s election is “historic” and helps the push for inclusion in legal institutions. “For a field in which women and people of color have for too much of our past been marginalized or underrepresented, her election is an important and encouraging step toward a richer and more inclusive legal conversation,” Zuckerman says.
Last year, the Harvard Law Review elected its most diverse class of editors since its founding in 1887 by Louis Brandeis, who went on to become a US Supreme Court justice.