Wednesday 3 January 2024


What really happened to Ota Benga (1885-1916) an African  who was displayed in a Zoo where over 40,000 people visited almost everyday?

Mbye Otabenga, later known as Ota Benga was born in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 1904 the Rev. Samuel P. Verner adventurer and former Presbyterinn missionary brought Benga and eight other Congolese purported to be "Pygmies" to be displayed at the St. Louts World's Fair.

Two years later the Bronx Zoo in New York exhibited Benga In Its "Monkey House" alongside an orangutan. He was shockingly described as a ‘missing link’ of evolution.

Over 40,000 people came to see him every day and he was often subject to mocking from the crowd. He later committed suicide.

Outraged African American ministers secured his release from the zoo and placed him in an orphanage in Brooklyn.

In 1910 Benga was brought to Lynchburg to attend the Virginia Theological Seminary and College. Despondent over his inability to return to Africa, he committed suicide in 1916.

#Africa #africa

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