The same month Mississippi voters overwhelmingly opted for a new state flag without a Confederate emblem, Noah Harris was elected student body president at Harvard University.
It’s been a defining year for Harris, a 20-year-old Black man from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. “I definitely don’t take that lightly,” Harris, a junior majoring in government, said of the confidence placed in him. “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 follows two other Black students who have headed Harvard’s Undergraduate Council, but Harris is the first Black man to be elected by the student body. Cary Gabay (1994) was the first Black man to serve in the role; he was chosen in 1993 by members of the council, prior to voting changing to include the entire student body in 1995. Gabay died in 2015 after being caught in the crossfire of a shooting in New York City. Fentrice Driskell (2001) became Image Credit – Hattiesburg American the first Black woman to be elected, in 1999. She now serves in the Florida House of Representatives, where she recently was elected to a second term.
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