Daguerreotype images of Delia Taylor and Renty Taylor, enslaved ancestors of Tamara Lanier, a resident of Norwich, are in possession of Harvard University. Lanier has sued the university to claim the photos to redress their treatment, and her campaign is chronicled in the documentary, “Free Renty.” / Contributed photos
Tamara Lanier, whose court case against Harvard University, is the subject of the documentary, “Free Renty.” / Photo by Kevin Hagen, Getty Images

WESTPORT — A documentary chronicling efforts by a Connecticut woman to claim possession of images of her enslaved ancestors from Harvard University will be screened March 18 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport.

The film, “Free Renty,” will be shown at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 18, followed by a discussion led by Tamara Lanier, a Norwich resident whose case against Harvard is the subject of the documentary. There is no admission charge.

A potluck dinner will be served at 5 p.m. prior to the program. The congregation is located at 10 Lyons Plains Road.

“Free Renty” refers to Renty Taylor, who is the great-great-great grandfather of Lanier. Daguerreotype images of Taylor and his daughter, Delia Taylor — shirtless, from several angles — have been in possession of Harvard University since they were photographed in 1850 by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz. 

Agassiz “espoused theories on racial difference and Black inferiority, that were used to justify racial discrimination against Blacks in the United States,” according to an account published by the Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina

In 2019, Lanier filed suit seeking redress from Harvard for “emotional distress over a series of photos” of her enslaved ancestors, the Stone Center said. The university refused to turn the photos over to Lanier.

Last year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that Lanier’s case could proceed, which her lawyers said established a precedent for descendants of slaves to seek accountability for their treatment.

For more information, email bethclifftucw@gmail.com.