Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY

Thursday, 27 December 2012

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY: OTA BENGA THE CONGOLESE PYGMY IN THE BRONX ZOO 1883 - 1916:

Ota Benga ( 1883 - 1916 )  was an African Congolese Pygmy who was put on display in the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo in New York in 1906.  On Sunday September 1906 a freshly painted sign greeted visitors to the monkey house iat the Bron Zoological Garden.
            
                           THE  AFRICAN  PYGMY  " OTA BENGA"
                             Age  23 years  Height  4 feet  11 inches.
                                Weight  103 pounds
                              Brought from the Kasai River, Congo Free State, South Central Africa.
                              By  Dr Samuel P. Verrnes.
                          Exhibited each afternoon during September.



























Inside in a large open air cage whose  floor has been artfully strewn with bones to suggest its occupants supposed  savagery sat a diminutive man in a hammock, wearing a jacket and trousers, but no shoes, quietly weaving mats and occasionally getting up to shoot arrows at a bale of hay. Late in the day an Orangutan was let into the cage and man and ape were encouraged to play together, hugging and chasing each another while the mostly white crowd laugh and applauded. The pygmy was not much taller than the Orangutan. The New York Times reported " and one had a good opportunity to study their points of resemblance. Their heads are much alike and both grim in the same way when pleased.