A black woman will lead Harvard University’s prestigious student newspaper for the first time since it was founded in 1873.
Haitian-Chinese student, Kristine E. Guillaume, 20, made history as the newly elected president of The Harvard Crimson. Her upcoming post has made headlines since it was announced earlier this month. Guillaume becomes the third black editor and the first black women editor, The New York Times reported, in the paper’s 145-year history.
The Crimson, which is the United State’s oldest daily student paper, has been edited by former US presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, former Microsoft head Steve Ballmer and CNN head Jeff Zucker among others.
Guillaume was appointed to this role after promising to guide the paper, which has struggled with diversity, “toward a more diverse, digital future,” the New York Times reports.
“If my being elected to The Crimson presidency as the first black woman affirms anyone’s sense of belonging at Harvard,” she says, “then that will continue to affirm the work that I’m doing.”
She took to Twitter to share the historic and exciting news with her followers:
I have the honor of serving as the President of the 146th Guard of @thecrimson next year. Congratulations to the 146's Managing Editor @angelanfu and Business Manager Charlie Zhu! Thank you to the 145, especially @derekgxiao, we have big shoes to fill.https://t.co/F8BiSMPqOr
— Kristine Guillaume (@krisguillaume) November 13, 2018
Born to a Chinese mother and Haitian father, both immigrants and physicians, Guillaume says that she developed an interest in journalism while growing up in Queens. On Sundays, Guillaume’s father would take her and her younger sister to a diner and ask them to read Times’ columns by David Brooks and Paul Krugman.
“Both of my parents have a strong emphasis on education and knowing what’s going on in the world around us,” says Guillaume, a junior majoring in literature, history and African-American studies.
Nearly 40 of Guillaume’s colleagues voted on who they’d elect to The Crimson’s most senior leadership position earlier this year, during a months-long process known as the “Turkey Shoot.”
When Guillaume received the call that she had been selected to lead the paper, she recalls screaming into the phone. “It was a very, very shrill scream,” she says.
Kristine Guillaume will take over from the current president Derek G. Xiao to lead the over 300 staff members in preserving the rich heritage and legacy of the newspaper.