Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard


Capri Theater Sun, May 15, 2022 4:00 PM
The Main 3 Wed, May 18, 2022 2:00 PM
The Main 3 Mon, May 23, 2022 7:15 PM
Virtual Available In:USA
Ticket Prices
General Public:$15.00 (+$2 online fee)
Members:$10.00 (no online fee)
Student:$8.00 (box office only)
Film Info
Festival Programs:New American Visions
Social Justice
Culture & Society
Black Perspectives
Release Year:2021
Runtime:94 min
Print Source:David Grubin Productions
Director:David Grubin
Producer:David Grubin
Cinematographer:Sam Russell
Editor:Deborah Peretz
Composer:Michael Bacon & Xavier Muzik


Tamara Lanier’s great-great-great grandfather was an enslaved man named Renty, who was compelled in 1850 to have his photograph taken so that Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz, a celebrated scientist — and virulent racist — could “prove” the superiority of the white race. Free Renty: Lanier v. Harvard documents Lanier’s years-long quest to force Harvard to release the daguerreotypes to Renty’s lineal descendants.

Lanier is suing Harvard for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of her ancestors’, Renty and Delia’s, images. Featuring commentary from her lawyers, including noted Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump, and scholars including Ta-Nehisi Coates and Tina Campt, Free Renty is a troubling look at the legacy of slavery and the lengths powerful institutions will go to avoid confronting the past, as well as a stirring testimony to the courage of those determined to fight for the dignity and respect of their ancestors.

Director Biography

David Grubin

David Grubin is a director, writer, producer, and cinematographer who has produced films that range across history, art, poetry, and science, winning every award in the field of documentary television, including two Alfred I. Dupont awards, three George Foster Peabody prizes, five Writer's Guild prizes, and ten Emmys.