The Bradford/Blume and Newkirk Books Compared

This article was written in the fall of 2015 after the publication of the Newkirk book (Spectacle) about Ota Benga. I wanted to write about the differences between it and Phil and Harvey’s book, which I think are vast. I want to be fair to Newkirk: her book does its job. I just think it’s a different job than what Phil and Harvey were attempting. — Marc Lee
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In September of 1906 an African ‘forest person’ (popularly – perhaps derogatorily  – described as a pygmy) was deposited at the newly opened Bronx Zoo and was publicly exhibited like an animal in one of the cages. This caused a sensation and much publicity, both good and bad, from the zoo’s perspective.  Within a month the uproar along with the public interest at the time became such a scandal that arrangements were made for the forest person, called Ota Benga, to be placed in more humane, less exploitive circumstances in a Brooklyn orphanage.

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