Free Renty
Hop Film Event

Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard

with Tamara Lanier
February 20, 2022

This event occurred as part of the 21/22 Hop Film Event season. This is an archived view.

Chronicling a historic lawsuit against Harvard University, this new film asks, who owns the rights to the violence of the past: the victim or the perpetrator?

21/22 Hop Film Event

Free Renty | Film Clip 2

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

A conversation with Tamara Lanier, The Hood Museum's Alisa Swindell and Art History professors Mary Coffey and Chad Elias follows the film.

Presented in conjunction with Dartmouth's MLK Celebration

Tamara K. Lanier is a tireless champion for truth and justice where her advocacy has taken her to many parts of the state, country and even the world. A 27-year veteran of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Lanier retired in 2017 as a Chief Probation Officer II in the Norwich Probation Office.  
Lanier has a long and distinguished record of public service and social advocacy. Recently, she was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to the States first Hate Crime Advisory Council. In May of 2015, She was named Woman of the Year by the Connecticut General Assembly's Commission on Afro American Affairs. Lanier received the 2016 Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities' Leaders and Legends Award and the 2019 Inspirational Women's Award.

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