Hear Me Ota Benga by Gracie Berry (Circa 1883-March 20, 1916)

Image“After learning of Ota Benga’s fate as an enslaved African captured post slavery, brought to the USA solely for the pleasure of whit spectators. He emerged as an exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in 1906. As if surviving the massacre of his wife, children, and entire village wasn’t enough trauma. I cried. I experienced anger, grief, and loss for a person I had never known. I thought to honor him. I thought to honor his story. His name origin is unclear. Some research say wealth, some say friend. Ota Benga a wealthy friend. I searched for hours. Read different accounts of Euro-centric rhetoric. Accounts that painted images of Ota as a soulless primate, with no inhibitions, no right to exist as a  man. I stumbled on one account that was tolerable from a man named Jerry Bergman.”  -Gracie Berry

Biologist and blogger PZ Myers called him “a fairly typical creationist: a loon, and dishonest”, accusing him of totally misrepresenting Charles Darwin. When in fact Bergman accurately criticized Charles Darwins outdated views on the evolution of African human beings. Bergman revealed the racism of evolutionary theory and the extent that the theory gripped the hearts and minds of scientists and journalists in the late 1800s. The article objectively looks back at the horrors that evolutionary theory like Darwins brought to society. Bergman rectified Ota’s dignity and respect. He shared meaningful accounts of how he lived as a human being while bound in racist America. One story in particular touched my heart-after he moved to Lewisburg VA black families entrusted their young to him. They felt their boys were secure with him. He taught them to hunt, fish, gather wild honey. The children felt safe when they were in the woods with him. If anything, they found him overprotective, except in regard to gathering wild honey – there was no such thing as too much protection when it came to raiding hives. A bee sting can feel catastrophic to a child, but Ota couldn’t help himself, he thought bee stings were hilarious. Ota Benga committed suicide this day March 20, 1916 after shooting himself in the heart. “Ota … removed the caps from his teeth. When his small companions asked him to lead them into the woods again, he turned them away. Once they were safely out of sight, he shot himself in the heart.”


Below is my rant of honoring: An Ode to Ota Benga by Gracie Berry

“Ota Benga African. Ota Benga flesh-brown. Ota Benga friend. Ota Benga hunter. Ota Benga husband. Ota Benga father. Ota Benga Ayurvedic. Ota Benga son. Ota Benga deep in mind. Ota Benga superior-hunter. Ota Benga clever. Ota Benga playful. Ota Benga smiled. Ota Benga talented. Ota Benga expert at mimicry. Ota Benga physically agile. Ota Benga wise. Ota Benga stood short. Ota Benga bigger than his body. Ota Benga quick. Ota Benga nimble. Ota Benga magician. Ota Benga ancestor. Ota Benga Mbuti pygmy. Ota Benga Congolese. Ota Benga tribesman. Ota Benga expressive. Ota Intellegent. Ota Benga curious. Ota Benga brave. Ota Benga revolutionary. Ota Benga loving. Ota Benga boundless. Ota Benga entrusted to care for black children. Ota Benga teacher. Ota Benga taught them to hunt, fish, gather wild honey. Ota Benga safe-keeper. Ota Benga overprotective of maple brown children. Ota Benga dignified. Ota Benga gatherer of wild honey. Ota leader. Ota Benga protector. Ota Benga laughed at bee stings.



Ota Benga disillusioned. Ota Benga tricked. Ota Benga beautiful. Ota Benga courageous. Ota Benga laughed. Ota Benga cried. Ota Benga sad. Ota Benga hurt. Ota Benga enslaved. Ota Benga sold for salt and cloth. Ota Benga ostracized. Ota Benga exploited. Ota Benga depleted. Ota Benga tortured. Ota Benga stripped. Ota Benga prodded. Ota Benga caged. Otta Benga despondent. Ota Benga homesick. Ota Benga emptied, depressed, despaired. Ota Benga sad. Ota Benga left binds that bonded him to savage people. Ota Benga broken. Ota Benga resourceful. Ota Benga powerful. Ota Benga saved himself. Ota Benga bullet to chest. Ota Benga left his body heart first. Ota Benga fly away. Ota Benga breathless. Ota Benga transitioned. Ota Benga spirit. Ota Benga relieved. Ota Benga brings no trouble. Ota Benga strengthens black life on earth. Ota Benga life force. Ota Benga never truly dead until there is no one left among the living to remember him. Ota Benga home. Ota Benga   peace. Ota Benga comfort. Ota Bengo love. Ota Benga rest in power.”

Click link below to read an informative and dignified account of Ota Benga by Jerry Bergman, American creationist and biologist: https://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/30/otabenga.html

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