This engaging and thought-provoking documentary follows Tamara Lanier, an African American woman determined to force Harvard University to cede possession of images of her great-great-great grandfather, an enslaved man named Renty. The daguerreotypes were commissioned in 1850 by a Harvard professor to "prove" the superiority of the white race. Lanier's 2019 lawsuit has sparked intense national conversations about the photographs, their history and Harvard's ability to continue profiting from their use. On a larger scale, Lanier's legal claims raise fundamental questions about museums and their "ownership" over artifacts. Free Renty looks beyond the headlines to contextualize Lanier's quest to reclaim her inheritance and asks: who owns the rights to the violence of the past…Is it the victim or the perpetrator?" D: David Grubin, US, 2021
Discussion follows the film.
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