||2022 Stone Memorial Lecture with Tamara Lanier
||Stone Center for Black Culture and History | 150 South Road, Chapel Hill
Sonja H Stone Center
- Stone Center for Black Culture and History
- 9:00 PM
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The 2022 Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture will feature a presentation by Tamara Lanier, the great-great-great granddaughter of ‘Papa Renty’, whose image, as well as being an important record of the life of an enslaved individual, is also the subject of one of the most important legal contests over the rights of the descendants of the enslaved in the United States. Ms. Lanier, after confirming missing elements of her family’s history, was able to establish her kinship to her ancestors.
The Stone Lecture will take place on Thursday October the 27th, at 7:00p.m. at the Stone Center.
In 2019, Tamara Lanier filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts for the right to seek redress from Harvard University for emotional distress over a series of photos depicting her enslaved ancestors, Renty Taylor and his daughter, Delia Taylor of South Carolina.
After legal setbacks in the lower courts, the case received a favorable hearing in the higher courts culminating in the landmark decision by the Massachusetts’ Supreme Court which held that legal claims by descendants can proceed against Harvard for the historical photos which the university still owns.
Lanier’s two enslaved ancestors were photographed shirtless from several angles in pictures commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz, who espoused theories on racial difference used to support slavery in the US, according to Black Enterprise.
Lanier, who lives in in Norwich, Connecticut, argued through her attorneys that in 1850, Harvard University forced her two ancestors “without consent, dignity and compensation” to pose for the photos, which were subsequently displayed publicly and used to promote slavery, Lanier’s attorneys argued.