Black History Then and Now: ‘The Harvard Law Review’

During Black History Month–and really any time of the year–it’s fascinating to learn about the extraordinary accomplishments of those Americans of African descent, who have, despite often seemingly insurmountable odds, gone on to reach unfathomable heights. These achievements didn’t begin with Frederick Douglass or end with Dr. Martin Luther King–as revolutionary and consequential as their work was. But, sometimes, because of the enduring legacy of racial discrimination in this country, we don’t always have to look very far to find more “black history.”


The Harvard Law Review


Founded in 1887, The Harvard Law Review enjoys the largest circulation of any law journal in the world. Yesterday, the publication announced that it had elected its 131st president, ImeIme Umana ’18. Umana makes history as The Harvard Law Review‘s first black, female president.

“ImeIme is one of the most brilliant, thoughtful, and dedicated people I’ve ever met, and the Law Review is in phenomenally good hands,” says Michael Zuckerman ’17 on The Harvard Law Review website. Umana is Zuckerman’s successor as president.

“Mike and his volume have done an exceptional job. Mike has led the Law Review with formidable intellect, tremendous empathy, and a tireless work ethic. The Law Review community has benefited immensely from his leadership. Though he is a tough act to follow, it is a great privilege to be able to serve and work with the remarkably talented and committed group of editors on the Law Review,” Umana says of Zuckerman.

Umana has a degree from Harvard in African American studies and government, and is now a joint degree candidate with the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Barack Obama


However, Umana is not the first black person to lead The Harvard Law Review. That distinction goes to U.S. President Barack Obama, who just ended his tenure as the leader of the free world and made history as the first black president of the United States. Whether Umana will go on to become the first black female president of the United States remains to be seen.

As an undergrad, Umana was most interested in the intersection between government and African American studies, according to her Harvard page. She hopes to explore how stereotypes of black women are reinforced in American political discourse.