The First Photos of Enslaved People Raise Many Questions About the Ethics of Viewing
For a century, they languished in a museum attic. Fifteen wooden cases, palm-size and lined with velvet. Cocooned within are some of history’s cruelest, most contentious images — the first photographs, it is believed, of enslaved human beings. By Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
Juneteenth Ain't Over - A Short Film and Discussion with Tamara Lanier
In a thought-provoking and candid experimental documentary, artist-scholar Rashayla Marie Brown shows how Black women, including her mother, Tamara Lanier, challenge entertainment giants and universities to gain legal rights and reparations for use of their visual identities.
Who Should Own Photos of Slaves? The Descendants, not Harvard, a Lawsuit Says
Tamara Lanier is suing Harvard University for ownership of daguerreotypes of slaves who she says are her ancestors. By Karsten Moran
September 7th Update - The Crimson Tide
Undergraduate Council Unanimously Passes Statement Condemning Harvard’s Possession of Images of Slaves
“President Bacow, it is not your place, nor is it the place of the University or affiliated institutions, to claim ownership under the law for Renty and Delia. Let them go home, and begin to set a new standard for Harvard that all students, faculty and the community can respect,” the legislation read. Learn More
April, 2020, Connecticut Magazine
Tamara Lanier is suing Harvard over photos of her enslaved ancestors
All her life, Tamara Lanier heard stories about an enslaved ancestor named Renty. A few years ago, the Norwich resident started researching her family history and has since unearthed genealogical evidence she believes proves she is a descendant of Renty, an African-born slave who labored on a South Carolina plantation. By Erik Ofgang, THE CONNECTICUT STORY. Photo by Peter Hvizdak
Harvard accused in lawsuit of retaining and profiting from images of slaves
When Tamara was a little girl, she said, her mother would often tell her stories about her great-great-great-grandfather, whom she called Papa Renty. He was from Congo, enslaved on a plantation in South Carolina . . .
The court date established to hear arguments supporting Tamara Lanier's request that Harvard University release daguerreotypes of her enslaved descendants, Papa Renty and Delia to the family is postponed. We will post the new date when we are notified.
Moore v. Rugg - Supreme Court Decision
Plaintiff awarded damages. Judgement relies solely on the absence of the photographed person's consent. Report dated July 1, 1890.