The Associated Press
February 5, 1990, Monday, AM cycle
First Black President of Harvard Law Review Elected
SECTION: Domestic News
LENGTH: 275 words
DATELINE: CAMBRIDGE, Mass.
The Harvard Law Review has elected its first black president in more than 100 years of publication at Harvard Law School.
Barack Obama, a 28-year-old second-year law student, was elected in balloting Sunday by last year’s editors.
Obama, a native of Hawaii, succeeds Peter Yu, the publication’s first Asian-American president.
Obama said his election shouldn’t be seen as a sign social barriers have broken down.
“I wouldn’t want people to see my election as a symbol that there aren’t problems out there with the situation of African-Americans in society,” he said. “From experience I know that for every one of me there are a hundred, or thousand, black and minority students who are just as smart and just as talented and never get the opportunity.”
But Obama also said his presidency “sends a signal out that blacks can excel in competitive situations like scholarship. It’s also a sign of progress.’
The review, founded in 1887, is published eight times a year and contains legal articles by professors, scholars and students throughout the United States, law school spokesman Michael Chmura said.
Each year, about 30 students serve as editors of the review. The students are generally at the top of their classes, Chmura said.
The student elected president works for one year coordinating the work of the other editors, and has final say over the review’s contents, he said.
Obama, who received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1983, took time off before law school for social work on the South Side of Chicago. He said he would like to someday return to community work, and has not ruled out a future in politics.