SHEDNOTES 120: The way we were, not long ago

The Shed enjoyed a book called Half Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan, about a jazz band being hounded by the Nazis in Berlin for decadence in both music and racial tolerance.

One shocking scene that stuck in our minds was a visit to a zoo, in Hamburg we think, which included an African village, populated by kidnapped Africans. In 1944.

The Shed was ashamed to half-recall seeing something like this some time, possibly on 1950s newsreel, and a bit of research established that there were several examples of Africans being exhibited in zoos in the early 20th century, including one in Yorkshire, which we still have some notes on somewhere.

Meanwhile, Pamela Newkirk has just published a book called Spectacle: The Astonishing Life Of Ota Benga, which tells the story of a pygmy who was bought for New York Zoo in 1904.

The author summed it up at

endsfornow …

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