Imelme Umana: First Black Woman President of the Harvard Law Review


ImeIme A. Umana ’14 will be the first black woman to serve as President of the Harvard Law Review. ImeIme Umana has been elected president of the Harvard Law Review.

Imelme, who graduated from Harvard College in 2014, expects to receive her Harvard law degree in 2018. She focused on government and African-American studies as an undergraduate, while working at Harvard’s Hiphop Archive & Research Institute and serving as president of the university’s Institute of Politics.

“It’s very easy to presume that you know a lot about urban communities and the troubles they face,” Umana told the Harvard Crimson. “I read ‘The New Jim Crow,’ and I read ‘Sister Citizen,’ and I read ‘Killing the Black Body,’ and I’ve watched all of these documentaries, and I’ve written all these papers, but the internship, really, in just a few days, showed me how little I actually did know about the realities of the situation and urban America.”

In that interview, Umana also reflected on an encounter with a student while she was tutoring a fifth-grade class. As she discussed the Second Amendment, she said, the student mentioned that a relative had been shot.

The president of the Harvard Law Review is elected by the editorial board of the independent, student-run publication, which was founded in 1887. Former President Barack Obama also made history at the review as the first black man elected to that post.

As president, Umana will oversee more the than 90 student editors and permanent staff members who make up the Law Review and communicate with writers, including senior faculty members.