Otabenga Book

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Otabenga Details

In 1904 the city of Saint Louis hosted a World's Fair. One event was titled the `University of Man', meant to celebrate the emerging science of anthropology and popular notions of biological evolution. `Race specimens' from around the world were gathered and brought to Saint Louis to be displayed for the crowds: Indians, Eskimos, Africans and other `rare' races, including, to much acclaim, the pygmies. A young southerner and self-styled African explorer, Samuel Phillips Verner, traveled to the Belgian Congo as a Special Agent for the Saint Louis Fair. He brought back with him several pygmies. One was Otabenga. The play, based on a true story, recounts the personal journeys of these two men through America at the turn of the 20th century, a society perhaps at the height of its power, its promise, its self-confidence, and its arrogance.
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