Add this book to bookshelf
Grey 902feb64d8b6d481ab8ddda06fbebbba4c95dfa9b7936a7beeb197266cd8b846
Write a new comment Default profile 50px
Grey 902feb64d8b6d481ab8ddda06fbebbba4c95dfa9b7936a7beeb197266cd8b846
Spinner ae25b23ec1304e55286f349b58b08b50e88aad5748913a7eb729246ffefa31c9
Spectacle - The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga - cover

Spectacle - The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga

Pamela Newkirk

Publisher: Amistad

  • 0
  • 2
  • 0

Summary

2016 NAACP Image Award Winner 
An award-winning journalist reveals a little-known and shameful episode in American history, when an African man was used as a human zoo exhibit—a shocking story of racial prejudice, science, and tragedy in the early years of the twentieth century in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Devil in the White City, and Medical Apartheid. 
In 1904, Ota Benga, a young Congolese “pygmy”—a person of petite stature—arrived from central Africa and was featured in an anthropology exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Two years later, the New York Zoological Gardens displayed him in its Monkey House, caging the slight 103-pound, 4-foot 11-inch tall man with an orangutan. The attraction became an international sensation, drawing thousands of New Yorkers and commanding headlines from across the nation and Europe. 
Spectacle explores the circumstances of Ota Benga’s captivity, the international controversy it inspired, and his efforts to adjust to American life. It also reveals why, decades later, the man most responsible for his exploitation would be hailed as his friend and savior, while those who truly fought for Ota have been banished to the shadows of history. Using primary historical documents, Pamela Newkirk traces Ota’s tragic life, from Africa to St. Louis to New York, and finally to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he lived out the remainder of his short life. 
Illuminating this unimaginable event, Spectacle charts the evolution of science and race relations in New York City during the early years of the twentieth century, exploring this racially fraught era for Africa-Americans and the rising tide of political disenfranchisement and social scorn they endured, forty years after the end of the Civil War. Shocking and compelling Spectacle is a masterful work of social history that raises difficult questions about racial prejudice and discrimination that continue to haunt us today.

Who read this book also read:

  • The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting - cover

    The History and Uncertain Future...

    Anne Trubek

    • 1
    • 1
    • 0
    The future of handwriting is anything but certain. Its history, however, shows how much it has affected culture and civilization for millennia. 
     
    In the digital age, handwriting is less necessary than ever before, and indeed fewer and fewer schoolchildren are being taught how to write in cursive. Signatures--far from John Hancock's elegant model--have become scrawls. In her recent and widely discussed and debated essays, Anne Trubek argues that the decline and even elimination of handwriting from daily life does not signal a decline in civilization, but rather the next stage in the evolution of communication. 
      
     Now, in The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, Trubek uncovers the long and significant impact handwriting has had on culture and humanity--from the first recorded handwriting on the clay tablets of the Sumerians some four thousand years ago and the invention of the alphabet as we know it, to the rising value of handwritten manuscripts today. Each innovation over the millennia has threatened existing standards and entrenched interests: Indeed, in ancient Athens, Socrates and his followers decried the very use of handwriting, claiming memory would be destroyed, while Gutenberg's printing press ultimately overturned the livelihood of the monks who created books in the pre-printing era. And yet new methods of writing and communication have always appeared. Establishing a novel link between our deep past and emerging future, Anne Trubek offers a colorful lens through which to view our shared social experience.
    Show book
  • Ancient Warfare - Archaeological Perspectives - cover

    Ancient Warfare - Archaeological...

    John Carman, Anthony Harding

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    This ambitious and innovative book sets out to establish a new understanding of human aggression and conflict in the distant past. Examining the evidence of warfare in prehistoric times and in the early historical period, John Carman and Anthony Harding throw fresh light on the motives and methods of the combatants. This study marks a significant new step in this fascinating and neglected subject, and sets the agenda for many years to come. By integrating archaeological and documentary research, the contributors seek to explain why some sides gained and others lost in battle and examine the impact of warfare on the social and political developments of early chiefdoms and states. Their conclusions suggest a new interpretation of the evolution of warfare from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, through the military practice of the Ancient Greeks and the Romans, to the conflicts of the Anglo-Saxons and of medieval Europe.
    Show book
  • Unbound - How Eight Technologies Made Us Human and Brought Our World to the Brink - cover

    Unbound - How Eight Technologies...

    Richard L Currier

    • 1
    • 1
    • 0
    Like Guns, Germs, and Steel, a work of breathtaking sweep and originality that reinterprets the human story.Although we usually think of technology as something unique to modern times, our ancestors began to create the first technologies millions of years ago in the form of prehistoric tools and weapons. Over time, eight key technologies gradually freed us from the limitations of our animal origins.The fabrication of weapons, the mastery of fire, and the technologies of clothing and shelter radically restructured the human body, enabling us to walk upright, shed our body hair, and migrate out of tropical Africa. Symbolic communication transformed human evolution from a slow biological process into a fast cultural process. The invention of agriculture revolutionized the relationship between humanity and the environment, and the technologies of interaction led to the birth of civilization. Precision machinery spawned the industrial revolution and the rise of nation-states; and in the next metamorphosis, digital technologies may well unite all of humanity for the benefit of future generations.Synthesizing the findings of primatology, paleontology, archeology, history, and anthropology, Richard Currier reinterprets and retells the modern narrative of human evolution that began with the discovery of Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils. But the same forces that allowed us to integrate technology into every aspect of our daily lives have also brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe. Unbound explains both how we got here and how human society must be transformed again to achieve a sustainable future.Technology: “The deliberate modification of any natural object or substance with forethought to achieve a specific end or to serve a specific purpose.”
    Show book
  • From the Arquebus to the Breechloader - cover

    From the Arquebus to the...

    Piers Platt

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    Firearms technology dominates the modern day battlefield, but how did the earliest guns affect battles in the Middle Ages? From their earliest incarnations in the 14th Century – which were as much a danger to their operator as they were to the enemy – to the muskets and breech-loading rifles of the 19th century, Piers Platt traces the technological advancements that revolutionized weapons, and how infantry tactics were forced to evolve as new and more lethal weapons were developed.
    Show book
  • The End of Average - How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness - cover

    The End of Average - How We...

    Todd Rose

    • 4
    • 14
    • 0
    Are you above average? Is your child an A student? Is your employee an introvert or an extrovert? Every day we are measured against the yardstick of averages, judged according to how closely we come to it or how far we deviate from it. 
    The assumption that metrics comparing us to an average—like GPAs, personality test results, and performance review ratings—reveal something meaningful about our potential is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t even question it. That assumption, says Harvard’s Todd Rose, is spectacularly—and scientifically—wrong. 
    In The End of Average, Rose, a rising star in the new field of the science of the individual shows that no one is average. Not you. Not your kids. Not your employees. This isn’t hollow sloganeering—it’s a mathematical fact with enormous practical consequences. But while we know people learn and develop in distinctive ways, these unique patterns of behaviors are lost in our schools and businesses which have been designed around the mythical “average person.” This average-size-fits-all model ignores our differences and fails at recognizing talent. It’s time to change it. 
    Weaving science, history, and his personal experiences as a high school dropout, Rose offers a powerful alternative to understanding individuals through averages: the three principles of individuality. The jaggedness principle (talent is always jagged), the context principle (traits are a myth), and the pathways principle (we all walk the road less traveled) help us understand our true uniqueness—and that of others—and how to take full advantage of individuality to gain an edge in life. 
    Read this powerful manifesto in the ranks of Drive, Quiet, and Mindset—and you won’t see averages or talent in the same way again.
    Show book
  • The Indifferent Stars Above - The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party - cover

    The Indifferent Stars Above -...

    Daniel James Brown

    • 1
    • 2
    • 0
    From the #1 bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable epic of family, tragedy, and survival on the American frontier 
    “An ideal pairing of talent and material.… Engrossing.… A deft and ambitious storyteller.” – Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review 
    In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of pioneers led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes, and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors. 
    In this gripping narrative, New York Times bestselling author Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah’s journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.
    Show book