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"Will the Black body ever have the opportunity to rest in peace? . . ." The Atlantic

"Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard . . ."
The New York Times
"Harvard shamelessly turned a profit from photos . . ."
The Guardian
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Harvard Coalition to Free Renty

A student-led coaliton to #FREERENTY - calls upon Harvard University and the Peabody Museum to surrender images of these individuals to their family and support reparations discussion.

170 Years of Slavery
"Harvard accused of retaining and profiting from images of slaves."
The Washington Post
"170 Years a Slave - FREE Renty! . . ."
"Renty was a reader and teacher despite anti-literacy laws. . ."
USA Today
". . .a story of racism and exploitation . . ."
The CT Mirror

Imagine your family is photographed against their will, that their image is publicly displayed for profit, and you cannot prevent it.  This is what Harvard University and Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology are doing today - and it needs to STOP.

Are you sitting down?

Nov 1, 2021

We think you'll be surprised, amused, perhaps feel a bit vindicated - surely hopeful by what you see and hear in this video.  Enjoy!

(Following the video, please feel free to share your thoughts by putting them in the form in the footer. 

We'll be interested to share them all on this site.)

Student Video Letters

Lanier v. Harvard case, from the descendants themselves.  (3 min)

Student Video Letters to Harvard's President Bacow 

A Call for More Student Video Letters!

The Coalition is asking supporters to submit a 15-30 second video statement to Harvard stating why it is important to YOU that the University surrender images of Renty & Delia to their family.  INFO HERE

Be Heard, Be Seen and Be Recognized because


Free Renty tells the story of one African-American woman's struggle to reclaim her heritage.

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Compelling Articles

in Explanation, in Support, in Disbelief

Please Read & Share With Others

The Dark Underside of Representations of Slavery

Will the Black Body ever have the

opportunity to rest in peace?

By Latria Graham

Artwork by Alanna Fields

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Law vs Morality

Slave descendant family, represented by Tamara Lanier.


This lawsuit, partnered with Harvard's entitled behavior, wounds student morale and pride.  SEE OFFICIAL SUIT FILING HERE


Three moral challenges to consider:

  • University President Bacow said, "I think we have the law on our side."


BUT using property law to argue ownership of slave photos when a family is fighting for images of their family members to be respected and surrender​ed, is thoughtless at best.

  • Harvard administrators claim their use and display of Renty and Delia's images emphasize the slaves' humanity.


BUT these photos were taken in the 1850s. Without consent, Renty and daughter were stripped, photographed, analyzed, and cataloged​. Continued use of these images in public domain when the family objects, certainly does NOT represent humanity.

  • Peabody's Director, Jane Pickering, self-appointed the museum an "ethical steward" of both images and stories of Renty and Delia, and announced its intention to further publicly promote them.


BUT why does Harvard and Peabody believe it is their duty to own images and stories of enslaved people and fight slave descendants to maintain this ownership?


Harvard Coalition to Free Renty

A student-led coalition to #FREERENTY - calls upon Harvard University and the Peabody Museum to surrender images of these individuals to their family and support reparations discussions.

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