Bronx Zoo Operator Apologizes for Racist Display in 1906

Bronx Zoo Operator Apologizes for Racist Display in 1906


The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo, has publicly apologized for “unconscionable” acts, one from over a century ago.

“First, we apologize for and condemn the treatment of a young Central African from the Mbuti people of present-day Democratic Republic of Congo,” the statement, written by Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristián Samper, said.

The Bronx Zoo “put Ota Benga on display in the zoo’s Monkey House for several days during the week of September 8, 1906 before outrage from local Black ministers quickly brought the disgraceful incident to an end,” the Wednesday letter explained.

In the statement, the WCS announced that Ota Benga’s records will be made available online in an effort to “publicly acknowledge the mistakes of our past,” and has denounced the “eugenics-based, pseudoscientific racism, writings, and philosophies” promoted by two of its founders; Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn, Sr.

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Grant authored the eugenics

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