In 1850, the famed Harvard Scientist Louis Agassiz commissioned photographer JT Zealy to capture nude images of African-born Enslaved men and women. Pointing to the stark physical differences, Agassiz theorized and promoted a race science alleging that blacks were separate and inferior species- deserving to be enslaved. These infamous daguerreotypes, images that pirated the pride and dignity of Renty and daughter Delia, Jack and daughter Drana, Jem, Alfred and another ‘unnamed man’ were used to promote slavery in the United States and subjugation in other parts of the world. For his efforts, history has described Agassiz as the Father of Scientific Racism, the Father of White Supremacy, The Father of Eugenics, and the Father of Apartheid.
These cultural relics, images that bear witness to perhaps the worst historical example of man's inhumanity to man, are tightly controlled and displayed by their de facto sponsor, Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Global and National Importance of Reparations
Recognizing the importance of teaching the true history of humankind, The United Nations World Conference on Racial Discrimination convened in Durban, South Africa in 2001 to say, “We acknowledge and profoundly regret the massive human suffering and the tragic plight of millions of men, women and children caused by Slavery.” The Delegation called for reconciliation by honoring the memory and dignity of the Enslaved.
Noting that some Nations have apologized for their egregious crimes against humanity, but others have not. Pointing to the indifference, The World Conference called on those whom have yet to make a full and formal declaration of atonement to do so forthwith.
The United States Congress, through The Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPR) preserves the dignity of cultural property once owned by indigenous groups through restorative measures for lineal descendants as it relates to possession and disposition of cultural property. The Act requires any Agency or Museum receiving federal funds to inventory their holdings for the presence of cultural property. Institutions are then required to consult with the affected Tribe to reach an agreement as to the disposition of their cultural relics. Once affiliation or the right of possession has been demonstrated, the lineal descendants, would make the final determination as to the disposition of the items.
In 2016, President Obama signed the Holocaust Expropriation Art Recovery Act – HEAR Act; introduced on April 7, 2016 by Senator Cronyn and co-sponsored by Senators Cruz, Schumer, and Blumenthal. The language and justification: “As the twentieth century came to a close, nations and civil society groups expressed a renewed interest in addressing the restitution of art lost in the Holocaust. The United States led these efforts. In 1998, over 50 years after the end of the war, the United States convened The Washington Conference with forty-three other nations to address the restitution of art lost in the Holocaust. The participating countries unanimously approved what are known as the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, which declared that Holocaust victims and their heirs ``should be encouraged to come forward and make known their claims to art that was confiscated and not subsequently restituted'' and that ``steps should be taken expeditiously to achieve a just and fair solution'.”
No one should ever be heard to say that the NAGPA or HEAR Acts are not a needed and necessary measure of justice, as they both safeguard and protect cultural property of affected groups. BUT, no one is willing to say the Descendants of Slaves deserve “Equal Protection”.
The Black Disinheritance
Sadly, the United States Congress has yet to offer proper redress to the plight of the disinherited Slave and their descendants, who continue to lack equal protections under the law.
Through Renty, the Lanier v. Harvard case (set for hearing in Massachusetts on September 10th, 2020), will challenge the 13th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution in ways never imagined before.
Courts will have an opportunity to either affirm Black Lives Matter, or admit the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as well as the 13th and 14th Amendments are all lies.
To support redress for Enslaved men, women and descendants, share this story far and wide. Call your Representatives and demand they take immediate actions toward redress for Enslaved people and their descendants. Call the President’s Office of Harvard University and voice your concerns. Sign the #FreeRenty petition and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay updated on this fight for family, equality, dignity, and justice.
Truth and Reconciliation
A Justice Overdue
by Tamara Lanier
The next four weeks will bring you a number of compelling articles supporting Tamara Lanier's case for the surrender of the daguerreotypes of Renty and Delia.
"Truth and Reconciliation" by Tamara is the first article.