Harvard University Shamelessly Profits Off Photos of Enslaved Man and His Descendant Is Suing

Tamara Lanier, the descendant of Papa Renty, an enslaved man who was photographed in 1850 by a racist Harvard professor, is suing the university over the shameless exploitation of the image of her ancestor.

Harvard University has turned a profit from the photos while ignoring requests to turn the photos over to the enslaved man’s descendants, according to the lawsuit.

Lanier is suing Harvard for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of images depicting her ancestor. The suit filed Wednesday, says Harvard has profited from the photos, demanding a “hefty” fee to use the images for commercial purposes.

The case centers on photographs from 1850 of Renty and his daughter, Delia. Both were posed shirtless. The photos were commissioned by white supremacist Harvard biologist, Louis Agassiz, whose racist theories were used in support of slavery in the US.

Photo of Tamara K. Lanier from Facebook


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