The College of Charleston’s Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston invites students, faculty, staff and members of the community to attend a public conversation on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, about repatriation of artifacts, archives, race and justice. The Critical Conversations event will feature the story of Tamara Lanier, whose fight against Harvard University for images of her enslaved ancestors, Renty and Delia, has been covered by numerous national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Guardian and Democracy Now!
The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center’s Septima Clark Memorial Auditorium (25 St. Philip St., room 118).
Tamara Lanier gives voice to her enslaved ancestors whose naked or partially clothed photographs were forcibly taken in 1850 outside Columbia, South Carolina, for a Harvard scientist, Louis Agassiz, who supported racist theories of polygenesis. Lanier’s case foregrounds the need for legislation that protects the cultural property of descendants of chattel slavery in the United States. Lanier will share her family’s inspiring history and its relevance to national discussions about slavery and reconciliation.
The Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston will also host a workshop for a small group CofC students on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, where students will talk with Lanier about her activism around the historical repatriation of artifacts tied to the history of North American slavery.
To learn more about Lanier and her story, check out the documentary Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard.