Welcome to the Ota Benga Alliance!

In honoring Ota Benga, we focus our efforts on the need to treat each other with dignity, with respect for cultural diversity as a source of strength, and with truth as a foundation for genuine reconciliation to end the cycles of violence, vengeance, and militarism. We believe that peace and dignity cannot be achieved while the injustices of the past and present are buried in silence, and while the struggles of the present go unheard.


Find out more about Ota Benga

© Mumia Abu Jamal

Welcome! We are the Ota Benga Alliance for Peace, Healing and Dignity in the D.R. Congo and beyond, located in Berkeley, California and Kinshasa, D.R. Congo.

Who was Ota Benga? A Congolese man, brought to the United States to be exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. He was an Mbuti (a pygmy), about 4 feet 8 inches tall, put on display at the Fair’s Hall of Man along with an exotic collection of indigenous peoples from all over the world. Ota Benga was exhibited next to a group of Native Americans that included Geronimo.

In honoring Ota Benga, we focus our efforts on the need to treat each other with dignity, with respect for cultural diversity as a source of strength, and with truth as a foundation for genuine reconciliation to end the cycles of violence, vengeance, and militarism. We believe that peace and dignity cannot be achieved while the injustices of the past and present are buried in silence, and while the struggles of the present go unheard.

Who are the Ota Bengas of today? Individuals and communities under siege all over the planet who are treated as less than human by a system built on greed, profit and violence:

  • Africans whose societies were torn apart by kidnapping, enslavement, and economic exploitation, whose labor built vast wealth for others, and whose descendents are subjected to racism and exploitation the world over;
  • Native Americans whose tribes and nations barely survived the genocidal attack of European settlers, whose land built vast wealth for others, and whose descendents still struggle against further displacement and cultural obliteration;
  • Japanese hibakusha who were exposed to the atomic explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and whose descendents still are sickened by radiation poisoning;
  • Haitians whose rebellion against their slave masters and establishment of the first black republic in 1804 led to centuries of unmerited economic sanctions and on-going exploitation by Western powers;
  • South African shack dwellers struggling for land ripped away from their ancestors by colonial exploitation and a racist apartheid system;
  • Twelve million people the world over, forced out of their homes by war and violent conflict and warehoused for years in refugee camps ;
  • Men and women everywhere forced by poverty and exploitation to leave their homes and families and seek work in distant places.

To heal ourselves and our societies, we must hear the voices of those who have suffered from horrific crimes in the past and those who, today, continue to suffer from violations to the integrity of the human body and spirit.

And hearing these voices, we envision coming together to work for a world of cooperation and mutual support, free of systems that rely on physical and psychic, social and economic violence and political and military domination.

For Peace, Dignity and Healing