Massachusetts’ highest court ruled that the descendant of two enslaved African Americans whose images were used by a Harvard professor to promote racist theories can sue the school for emotional distress.
The state’s Supreme Judicial Court said the Ivy League school engaged in ‘extreme and outrageous’ conduct when it refused to consider Tamar Lanier’s claim that she suffered emotional damage by the public display of her ancestors, the Boston Globe reported.
Lanier had sued the university in 2019 for ownership of the daguerreotype portraits of her great-great-great-grandfather, Renty Taylor, and his daughter, Delia.
Although the court ruled that Harvard retains ownership of the images, a unanimous 7-0 vote said Lanier could sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
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