Welcome to OtaBenga.com

OBSmiling VernerAsYoungMan This site is dedicated to the memory of Ota Benga and Samuel Phillips Verner. Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Zoo, the story of their remarkable friendship and tragedy in the early 20th century, was published in 1992. Written by Phillips Verner Bradford, a grandson of Verner, and co-author Harvey Blume, it was a 1992 New York Times Book of the Year.


Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Zoo was based on Bradford and Blume’s extensive research of original source documents and interviews with individuals who had known Ota Benga and Verner. It was widely-acclaimed both as an historical work and for its insights into the social views prevalent in turn-of-the-century America.

However, in the interim since 1992 a great deal of misinformation about the Ota Benga/Verner story has been published and recirculated through the Internet and other media.

The mission of this site is to describe the background of the Bradford/Blume book and to set the record straight about the misinformation that has been promulgated about the Ota Benga/Verner story.