The headlines of the article written by Fox Butterfield that appeared in the February 6, 1990 issue of the New York Times read "First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review." Here are some excerpts:
"The new president of the [Harvard Law School] Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South-Side before enrolling in law school.
‘The fact that I've been elected shows a lot of progress,' Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ‘It's encouraging. But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance,' he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.
On his goals in his new post, Mr. Obama said, ‘I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I'm fairly opinionated bout this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.' [emphasis added]
Mr. Obama said he planned to spend two or three years in private law practice and then return to Chicago to reenter community work, either in politics or in local organizing.
Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review's 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.
Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank.
The system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review."
As President of the United States of America his opinioned role in pushing a "strong minority perspective" would be less limited.