Unbelievable: African Caged in Monkey House
Posted by addisethiopia on December 19, 2012
My note: Ignorant Darwinists á la Richard Dawkins (update on this particular fool) suggested that this poor man from Africa was the ‘Missing Link’ between apens and humans. These fools were wrong then and continue to be wrong today — little has change since then. It is a source of disgrace and embarrassment that they always miss opportunities for their personal/human development by refusing to accept their mistakes — as they’re mostly driven by feelings of inferiority. Never learning apes, please grow up!
Ethiopia Saluting the Colors
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Who are you dusky woman, so ancient hardly human,’
With your woolly-white and turban’d head, and bare bony feet?
Why rising by the roadside here, do you the colors greet?
(‘Tis while our army lines Carolina’s sands and pines,
Forth from thy hovel door thou Ethiopia comist to me,
As under doughty Sherman I march toward the sea.)
Me master years a hundred since from my parents sunder’d,
A little child, they caught me as the savage beast is caught,
Then hither me across the sea the cruel slaver brought.
No further does she say, but lingering all the day,
Her high-borne turban’d head she wags, and rolls her darkling eye,
And courtesies to the regiments, the guidons moving by.
What is it fateful woman, so blear, hardly human?
Why wag your head with turban bound, yellow, red and green?
Are the things so strange and marvelous you see or have seen?
In 1906 Ota Benga arrived at the Bronx Zoo one day late in the summer of 1906 wearing a white linen suit. He was lugging a wooden bow, a set of arrows, and a pet chimpanzee. Twenty-three years old and twice widowed, he had already hunted elephants, survived a massacre by the Belgian colonial army, been enslaved and freed, danced at Mardi Gras, and posed alongside Geronimo in the St. Louis World’s Fair. And yet Americans were forever calling him “boy”—in part because, as one of the Congolese tribe of Mbuti pygmies, he stood less than five feet tall and weighed only 103 pounds. He spoke no English. When he smiled, he revealed a set of incisors whittled to sharp points, like a vampire bat’s.
Benga had traveled to the U.S. with the anthropologist Samuel Phillips Verner, but upon arriving in New York, Verner had gone dead broke. He contacted the zoo’s director, William Temple Hornaday, who agreed to loan Benga an apartment on the premises. Hornaday was an enlightened zookeeper and among the earliest to endorse displaying animals in naturalistic settings. He also happened to be a Darwinian racist who schemed to exhibit Benga alongside the apes.
For nearly two weeks, Benga roamed the grounds unnoticed; to the zoo’s visitors, he was just a small, somewhat strange black man. But over time, at the urging of Hornaday, the zookeepers convinced Benga to play with the orangutan in its cage. Benga obliged. Crowds gathered to watch the two monkeying around. The keepers gave Benga his bow and arrow; he shot targets, squirrels, the occasional rat. Bones were scattered about the cage to add a whiff of cannibalism. The keepers goaded Benga to occasionally charge the bars of his enclosure, baring his sharp teeth. Children screamed. Adults were at turns horrified and titillated. “Is that a man?” a visitor asked. A circus owner offered to throw a party for Benga, a French spinster offered to purchase him, and a black manicurist offered to paint his nails. Hornaday posted a sign outside of the cage, displaying Benga’s height, weight, and how he was acquired. “Exhibited each afternoon during September,” it concluded.
Alerted to the situation by a story in the New York Times, a group of Baptist clergymen became incensed. They wrote letters to the city papers and traveled to the office of Mayor George B. McClellan, who hid in his office and sent out a note telling them to address their complaints to the New York Zoological Society.
Hornaday took down the sign and banned Benga from entering the monkey cage, but the furor only escalated. The zoo attracted as many as 40,000 visitors a day in mid-September, many of whom hounded Benga throughout the grounds. Unable to articulate his frustration, Benga repeatedly lashed out, shooting one visitor in the calf with an arrow and brandishing a knife at a zookeeper. In public, Hornaday seemed unconcerned by the controversy. In a letter to the mayor, he wrote, “When the history of the Zoological Park is written, this incident will form its most amusing passage.” Meanwhile, he privately wired Verner an SOS. “Boy [has] become unmanageable, also dangerous … Please come for him at once.”
For equally ridiculous experience please go to my Photofile
Ode to Ethiopia
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
O Mother Race! to thee I bring
This pledge of faith unwavering,
This tribute to thy glory.
I know the pangs which thou didst feel,
When Slavery crushed thee with its heel,
With thy dear blood all gory.
Sad days were those-ah, sad indeed!
But through the land the fruitful seed
Of better times was growing.
The plant of freedom upward sprung,
And spread its leaves so fresh and young-
Its blossoms now are blowing.
On every hand in this fair land,
Proud Ethiope’s swarthy children stand
Beside their fairer neighbor;
The forests flee before their stroke,
Their hammers ring, their forges smoke,-
They stir in honest labour.
They tread the fields where honour calls;
Their voices sound through senate halls
In majesty and power.
To right they cling; the hymns they sing
Up to the skies in beauty ring,
And bolder grow each hour.
Be proud, my Race, in mind and soul;
Thy name is writ on Glory’s scroll
In characters of fire.
High ‘mid the clouds of Fame’s bright sky
Thy banner’s blazoned folds now fly,
And truth shall lift them higher.
Thou hast the right to noble pride,
Whose spotless robes were purified
By blood’s severe baptism.
Upon thy brow the cross was laid,
And labour’s painful sweat-beads made
A consecrating chrism.
No other race, or white or black,
When bound as thou wert, to the rack,
So seldom stooped to grieving;
No other race, when free again,
Forgot the past and proved them men
So noble in forgiving.
Go on and up! Our souls and eyes
Shall follow thy continuous rise;
Our ears shall list thy story
From bards who from thy root shall spring,
And proudly tune their lyres to sing
Of Ethiopia’s glory.