Coinciding with the surge of awareness around the killings of unarmed black men, Pamela Newkirk (pictured), author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, and author Sherilynn Ifill (On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century), a regular political and election night commentator on both national and local television. Ms. Newkirk and Ms. Ifill will discuss America’s history of race perception and its impact during the Harlem Book Fair on Saturday, July 18 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The discussion will be televised live on C-Span’s BookTV.
During the height of Baltimore’s recent unrest, a New York police officer placed what was considered a racist post on Facebook. The photo juxtaposed a picture of blacks on a minivan protesting the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson with one of baboons jumping all over a white woman’s car.
As discussed in Ms. Newkirk’s Spectacle, in 1904 a young Congolese man of petite stature was captured in Central Africa and brought to the United States. First, he was featured in an anthropology exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Two years later, the New York Zoological Garden displayed him in its Monkey House with an orangutan. The attraction became an international sensation, attracting thousands of New Yorkers and commanding headlines from across the nation and Europe. This discussion will trace America’s history of race perception, and connect its impact and escalation from slave culture to prison culture to what some consider blatant disregard of life.
Photo credit: from Sundance Theater club event.