Did you know that there were Human Zoos on display in Europe and America from the 1870s to the 1950s? These public exhibits of humans, often called Negro Villages, usually showed indigenous people in a so-called natural or primitive state. The displays often emphasized the cultural differences between Europeans of Western civilization and non-European peoples.
Jardin Zoologique D'Acclimatation Achantis, 1887 This ad refers to an exhibit of the Ashanti people of south Ghana. Human zoos like this were popular in Europe in the 19th and 20th century. They were also known as “Negro Villages” or “ethnological expositions” where humans were exhibited in their natural state.
In the late 19th century and in some places up to the 1950s, several European countries and the United States exhibited colonial subjects "in their natural habitats" either in fair grounds or in zoos. Here is a "Senegalese village" in Paris. Photo credit: Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture
Ota Benga was a Congolese pygmy who was featured in a 1906 human zoo exhibit at the Bronx Zoo alongside an orangutan. The exhibit was supposedly intended to promote the concept of human evolution, eugenics and scientific racism