The First Black Woman to Lead the Harvard Law Review

The first edition of the Harvard Law Review was published in 1887. It has the largest circulation of any law journal in the world.

In 1990 Barack Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. He was the first African American to hold the position. Of the first 130 presidents of the prestigious journal not one was a Black woman.

But that barrier has now been broken. ImeIme Umana was elected as president of the Harvard Law Review from a field of 12 candidates. Eight candidates were members of underrepresented groups and eight were women.

Michael Zuckerman, the outgoing president of the Harvard Law Review, stated that “ImeIme is one of the most brilliant, thoughtful, and dedicated people I’ve ever met, and the Law Review is in phenomenally good hand. Like many others around campus, I’ve been blown away by ImeIme since she was an undergraduate in Harvard’s Lowell House, and it has been thrilling to watch the Law Review’s membership recognize so heartily what a special human being she is. I am excited for all of the amazing work that she will do for our institution in the year ahead.”

A native of State College, Pennsylvania, Umana graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with a dual major of government and African American studies. She will be interning with the public defenders office in Washington, D.C., summer. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 2018, Umana will become a clerk for Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.


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