Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

The Man in the Zoo


In 1906, New York’s Bronx Zoo was the largest zoo in the world. More than 800 birds, reptiles and beasts of all kinds. But that year, the zoo introduced a new exhibit that would quickly became its most popular attraction. In the monkey house, right next to an orangutan, there was a man… inside a cage.

On the cage was this sign:

African Pigmy

Age 23 years

Height 4 feet 11 inches

Weight 103 pounds

Exhibited each afternoon during September.

Today on the Radio Diaries Podcast, the story of the man in the zoo. His name was Ota Benga.

Radio Diaries is part of Radiotopia from PRX, a podcast network with 13 great shows. And soon…14! Radiotopia is currently on a podquest – on the hunt for new, creative and excellent podcast ideas. We’re looking for original voices who sound unlike anything that already exists in the network. Submit your idea by April 17 and win a chance to join Radiotopia. It’s a great club.

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