A woman in the United States who says she’s descended from slaves portrayed in widely-published, historical photos owned by Harvard can sue the university for emotional distress, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Thursday.
Tamara Lanier says she is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Renty Taylor, who along with his daughter Delia was forced to be photographed for an 1850 study by a professor trying to prove the inferiority of Black people.
Lanier demanded the photos and unspecified damages from Harvard, saying the school had exploited the daguerreotype for profit.
Thursday’s ruling overturns a lower court judgment that dismissed Lanier’s 2019 complaint.
Supreme Judicial Court Justice Scott Kafker wrote that Harvard had “cavalierly” dismissed Lanier’s claims of an…