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At 21, Ota Benga was brought to the United States by African explorer Samuel Verner. Verner displayed Ota Benga alongside six other pygmies of the Congolese Mbuti tribe at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. Verner then escorted them back to the Congo, but Benga returned to America for the second time and ended up on display at the Bronx Zoo. He then studied at a colored orphan asylum and attended a Baptist Seminary. But only the forest held his attention and he ultimately took his own life.

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Mbuti tribesman Ota Benga committed suicide on March 20, 1920. He had been brought from what was then the Belgian Congo by missionary Samuel Phillips Verner to be on exhibit at the St. Louis World's Fair and later at the Bronx Zoo. Phillips Verner Bradford, the grandson of Verner, wrote a book on his life Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Zoo (1992). #TodayInBlackHistory

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from the Guardian

The man who was caged in a zoo

The man who was caged in a zoo In 1904, Ota Benga was kidnapped from Congo and taken to the US, where he was exhibited with monkeys. His appalling story reveals the roots of a racial prejudice that still haunts us...

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from BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

CIRCUS AFRICANUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HUMAN ZOO

#OtaBenga: CIRCUS AFRICANUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HUMAN ZOO (Ota Benga at Bronx Zoo)

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from the Guardian

The man who was caged in a zoo

A portrait of Ota Benga taken in Congo. His sharp teeth were the result of tooth chipping, a practice that was popular among young men.

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100 years ago today, Ota Benga ended his horrible life after caged as ‘pygmy’ at Bronx Zoo

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