Woman suing Harvard over slave portraits gets key support

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A woman suing Harvard University over 19th century images of slaves she says were her ancestors has received the backing of descendants of the professor who commissioned the images in his attempt to prove blacks were inferior to whites.

More than two dozen descendants of professor Louis Agassiz have signed a letter saying it’s time for Harvard to recognize Agassiz for the racist he was and calling on the Ivy League school to hand over the images to Tamara Lanier.

The Agassiz descendants as well as Lanier have scheduled a news conference Thursday.

The Norwich, Connecticut, woman wants Harvard to give her the images and pay unspecified damages.

A message was left Thursday with Harvard. President Lawrence Bacow said in April he thinks Harvard has “the law on our side.”

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