New York: The prestigious Harvard Law Reviewhas elected its first black woman president in its 130-year history.
ImeIme Umana, 24, the third-oldest of the four daughters of Nigerian immigrants, has been elected by the venerable journal’s 92 student editors as the president of its 131st volume.
The difficult election process required a thorough dissection of her work and application, and a 12-hour long deliberation of her portfolio.
Umana’s election comes 27 years after the Review elected its first black man as president. That was former President Barack Obama.
It has been even longer — 41 years — since the first woman, Susan Estrich, was elected to the position. Since then, subsequent presidents have been female, Hispanic, Asian- American, openly gay and black, the New York Times reported.
Umana, who grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
“I didn’t realise (civics) could be so personal and so alive for a lot of the students,” Umana told the Harvard Crimson, the school’s newspaper.
“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,” she said.
Her tenure begins next school year.
The Harvard Law Review — which, like other law reviews, allows students to hone their legal writing skills and gives scholars a forum in which to thrash out legal arguments — is often the most-cited journal of its kind and has the largest circulation of any such publication in the world.
Its presidency is considered the highest-ranking student position at the ferociously competitive law school and a ticket to virtually anywhere in the legal realm. Half of the current US Supreme Court justices served on the Harvard Law Review, though none as its president.
On why did it took so long to elect a black woman, Umana said the lag reflects a wide gulf between black women and law school — and the law in general, a profession in which minorities have historically been underrepresented.
“We’ve been systematically excluded from the legal landscape, the legal conversation, and we’re just now making some important inroads,” she said. PTI
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