November is not just election season for public officials. It is also election season at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. This month, Noah Harris made history as the first Black man elected as student body president.
Harris is a 20-year-old student from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He serves as a co-chair and treasurer for the Undergraduate Council’s Black Caucus.
Given the state of the country's state, the importance of this accomplishment is not lost on Harris. Born in a state that just voted to remove traces of the confederacy of its flag, Harris knows all to well how important this win is for other Black students.
“I definitely don’t take that lightly,” he said.
“Especially with everything that went on this summer with the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, all the protests that went on in this moment of racial reckoning in this country. This is a major statement by the Harvard student body to entrust a Black man with such an unprecedented moment in its history.”
Harris is the first Black man to be elected to this position by his peers, but he is not the first Black person to hold this office. Prior to this year's election, two Black students had been appointed by Harvard's Undergraduate Council. First, Carl Gabay made history as the university's first Black person in 1993. Six years later, Fentrice Driskell became the first Black woman to hold the position. She now serves in Congress.
Harris will begin his historic term in office next year. He will be sworn in on December 6.
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