In its 130-year history, the prestigious Harvard Law Review has never elected a Black woman to serve as president – until now. ImeIme Umana, a Pennsylvania native and daughter of Nigerian immigrants was elected to the post on Jan. 29 of this year.
Umana, 24, was raised in the town of State College. Her late father worked as a statistician there. One of four children, Umana graduated from Harvard College in 2014 en route to her time at Harvard Law. According to a New York Times profile, Umana endured two days and two hours of intense grilling before her election.
In answering a question on why it took this long to elect a Black woman to the post, Umana acknowledged that people of color are largely underrepresented in the legal landscape and that they’re often on the wrong side of the law. In hoping to spur change and diversity, the Review is now 46 percent women and 41 percent of that group are women of color.
In 1990, Barack Obama made history by becoming the first Black man to be president of the review and began a career that eventually led to him becoming President of the United States. While Umana doesn’t seem to have political ambitions at the moment, she does want to serve the people as a public defender after working in the Bronx in that role.
Further, she hopes to serve as a role model and guide for underrepresented women in law and realizes that the responsibility she has been given is a beacon of hope for others.
PHOTO: Imelme Umana, Twitter