Meet Noah Harris, the first Black man elected student body president in Harvard’s 384-year history

Updated: Dec 21, 2020


Black Parent Magazine spoke with Harris about his campaign, his professional ambitions and his advice to other.

I'm Noah Harris, and I am a Junior at Harvard studying Government. I am originally from Hattiesburg, MS, and I was recently elected Harvard Student Body President.

1. How was your semester? The semester has been really weird because Harvard is completely virtual. All of our classes are online, and most students are not on campus. I am off-campus in the Boston area. Because we are virtual, the entire campaign was online and on social media. That made the process very different from what I have been used to in the past. 2. How does it feel to be the 1st Black Man Student Body President of Harvard? It's an honor to be the first, and with everything that has gone on this year, it makes it even more special. Harvard made a statement here, and Jenny Gan and I are so happy to have this great responsibility. 3. What was your campaign slogan? Our slogan was Building Tomorrow's Harvard. For us that means creating a Harvard and everyone can be proud of and want to call home, regardless of their identity or background. 4.What message do you have for Black Boys and Girls reading this? I would tell them that this position that I have is great, but they should strive to be their best selves. They can do anything in life if they are willing to work for it, but the journey is just as important as the destination. 5. Do you consider yourself to be a role model? I do consider myself a role model. I strive to be someone that young people would want to look up to. I am always trying to learn from others and be available to anyone who needs advice. 6.What are you looking forward to in 2021? In this role, I look forward to using this platform to get Harvard to use its power for good. Harvard has so much power and control over every sector of society. We really want to get the school to use that power to stand with its students who need them the most. 7.What is that one thing you learned from growing up in Mississippi? I learned to lead by serving others. Mississippi is the poorest state, but it gives the most to charity. We are giving until we do not have more to give. Living a life of service is something I take great pride in. 8.What does the Phrase "Representation Matters" mean to you? Representation does matter. It is so important to be able to see someone who looks like you in positions of power and authority. However, representation cannot be the only thing. Those people who are those role models have to be doing the work that makes the representation worth it. 9.What are your career goals? I am really passionate about being a lawyer. I want to be a voice for the marginalized in the courtroom. That is where I feel I will be able to use my gifts to make a real difference. 10.Tell us about your book, Successville? How can we support you? Successville is a children's book I wrote to show kids they can do anything if they are willing to do the work and focus on their education. In the book, Ms. Jones teaches her class about this place called Successville after she catches them not paying attention again. The kids soon learn everyone has a Successville in their lives, and they will have to get their act together if they ever want to make it there. Successville represents the place where people achieve their own versions of success. This place is based on a combination of goals, hard work, and talent. Everyone's Successville is a different place because only we know when we have given our all in an effort to make our dreams a reality. The book is available on Amazon and everywhere online books are sold. 11.Who inspires you? I am inspired by my parents and the work that they have done molding me into who I am. They have been so encouraging. They were the ones who told me I could do anything if I put my mind to it. They showed me that if I worked hard in school from a young age, that would pay off for me. If it were not for my mom, I would not have even applied to Harvard. They both have believed in me from the beginning. They are also so hardworking. They were the first generation in their families to go to college, and they have provided a great life for my sister Peyton and me. 12. If you could go back in time and meet 1 Harvard Alumni, who would it be? I would like to meet W.E.B. DuBois. He was the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard. He also went on to become one of the most prominent scholars in American history. I love reading his work, and meeting him in person would be something I could not refuse.


Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more My website is currently the book on Amazon but hoping to change that in the near future: https://www.amazon.com/Successville-Noah-Harris/dp/0578425041/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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