- In 1906, crowds flocked to see an African youth exhibited in iron cage at the Bronx Zoo
- Pamela Newkirk: It's a stark example of the history of racial attitudes and how it still affects society today
Pamela Newkirk, director of undergraduate studies at New York University's Arthur Carter Journalism Institute, is the author of the new book "Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga," published by HarperCollins, and editor of "Letters from Black America," published in 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
(CNN)During September of 1906, nearly a quarter of a million New Yorkers flocked to the Bronx Zoo to behold a young African named Ota Benga -- a so-called "pygmy" -- exhibited in an iron monkey house cage.