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Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna @NzekweGerald
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HISTORY -- With Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna


Gory Stories about the Inhuman Treatment meted on African Slaves by the White Masters,during and After the Atlantic Slave Trade, can never be exhausted.

I want to Share two with us...
1. OTA BENGA (Exhibited as a Money)

On 20 March,1916, a 32year-old African man named Ota Benga shot himself in the heart while being held against his will in the United States.
Ota Benga’s short,Sad life was shaped by colonial avarice justified by the quack science of eugenics.
Through it all, he did what he could to keep his dignity intact despite being subjected to the most degrading treatment imaginable. His story, like far too many tragedies, begins in the Congo, then known as the Congo Free State.
Many Congolese forced laborers had their limbs severed for not meeting rubber quotas by the Belgians during colonial occupation of the territory.

The country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo used to be a big blank spot on the map.
Dense rainforest and an unnavigable river made exploration nearly impossible until the late 19th century, when King Leopold II of Belgium decided he’d quite like to have it (and the region’s vast rubber resources).
He commenced series of expeditions in the region,so as to know the worth of the place.

Though the new Colony was called the Congo Free State — an area equal in size to Alaska and Texas combined — there was nothing free about it. It was the personal property of King Leopold II.
Under the administration of Leopold’s overseers, the Belgian Congo descended into nightmare of whippings, amputations, forced labor and mass killings.

The situation got so bad that even the other colonial powers complained about the way people were treated in the territory,...
with Britain launching an official investigation in 1903 that helped lead to some reforms. But ultimately, some estimates say that as many as 10 million Congolese were killed under King Leopold II.

This was the type of Misery, torture, Slavery Ota Benga was born into in Congo.

Ota Benga was Born in Congo around 1883 and a member of the Mbuti people, a Pygmy tribe. His people lived in loose bands of family groups of between 15/20 people, moving from one Temporary Village Or Camp to another as the Seasons and hunting Opportunities dictated.
Benga had a difficult early life, as did many people on the African continent during the 19th century. Civil wars were common between Peoples,and captured enemies were Sold into slavery.
The interference of Europeans on the Continent also Created a Series of Crises for Africans.
Ota Benga later got married as a teenager, and had two sons, they lived among the Mbuti tribe, in the Forest.
Not to long, the eastern Congo erupted into a War that saw mass deportations, Raids by Arab slavers, and an invasion by the Force Publique,..
a Belgian-led Occupying Army that was manned by the dregs of the colony and commanded by some of the worst sadists Belgium could produce; the Force Publique was originally formed to enforce rubber quotas and beat Complainers with Hippopotamus-hide whips.
Like many colonial Militias, they were Corrupt: they Raped and Murdered Villages, even Collecting Severed Hands and head.

Sometime in the late 1890s, Force Publique “soldiers” found Ota Benga’s family camp and Killed his Entire Family.
Benga was out hunting at the time,So only met the aftermath of the massacre.

To an Hunter in Pygmy tribe like Ota Benga,his family is life itself.
Without them,he had the choice of wandering alone Until he die.
Or seek out a New Family Group and beg them to take him as a helper.

Now, A short While after losing his family, he was picked up by slave traders who put him in chains and dragged him out of the forest, which had been the only home he had ever known. They put him to work as a laborer in an Agricultural Village.

It was In 1904, that An American Missionary/Business man, S.P. Verner, spotted Ota Benga.
Verner had been sent to the Congo on an expedition commissioned by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition,...
which was planning an exhibit for the St. Louis World’s Fair that would “educate” the public in what was then a racist, pseudoscientific brand of anthropology.

Verner’s job was to find some authentic African pygmies to display as “missing links” in human evolution.
And Looking at Ota Benga, a lean, very black,
and Benga's short stature (he was described as about 4'11" and 103 pounds), that made Vernar pick him.
Also, it was Ota Benga's pointed teeth that most shocked those who met him.
For Ota Benga this was just a non-painful practice common to his family tribe back in Africa. His natural teeth were carefully shaved down to points, leaving the roots fully intact.
Verner knew he had what he needed. He bought Ota Benga for a pound of salt and a bolt of cloth.
Upon purchasing Ota Benga, The Missionary Samuel Philips Verner brought him and a few other Congo Tribal people to America with him to participate in the upcoming World's Fair.

S.P. Verner’s group promptly brought Benga to St. Louis, where he was the hit of the 1904 World’s Fair.
He and the other captive Africans he had been lumped in with quickly figured out that the crowd wanted to see genuine African “savages,” ...
so they started imitating the dancing and war-whoops they saw the nearby American Indians doi. Verner made friends with Geronimo and charged increasingly interested visitors five cents to see his teeth.
At one point, the National Guard had to be called in to control the crowds.

Once the World's Fair was over, Samuel Philo Verner returned Ota Benga and his colleagues to their homes in Congo, Africa.
Ota Benga had lost his family and was now displaced from his tribe of origin.
In 1905, He then went to live with the Batwa tribe of Congo, several of whom he had worked with in America. He then settled down with them, and he got married to a woman from the tribe. The marriage only lasted a few months, ending when Ota Benga’s new wife died from a snakebite.
Soon, however, he realized that he did not fit in with the Batwa people.

In 1906, Heartbroken and at loose ends, Ota Benger asked Verner if he could return to America with him to start a new life over there. Verner was glad to oblige his request and took him back to America.
Verner was having a hard time financially at the time. He contacted the director of the American Museum of Natural History. An arrangement was made for Benga to live at the museum, which was every bit as odd then as it would be today.
Ota Benga was miserable living there.
he again “delighted” visitors by pretending to be a babbling half-human Or Monkey.
His behavior became unpredictable and at a fundraising gala he threw a chair at the head of donor Florence Guggenheim.
During his stay at the museum, a sculpted bust of Benga was made, which survives.

Things only got worse for Ota Benga as far as living situations go. Staying at the museum was a disaster.
Samuel P. Verner was still trying to do what he could for Ota Benga, So, he contacted William Temple Hornaday, the Director of the Bronx Zoo.
Verner thought fresh air and outdoor activity would help improve Ota Benga's quality of life.
Hornaday brought Benga to the zoo and the African man did cheer up when he saw the animals native to his homeland living there. Verner and Hornaday proposed that Ota Benga help out at the zoo, taking care of and feeding the elephants and other native African animals.
So he did and once again Ota Benga found himself a popular figure. Visitors would see him dressed in his native cloth and will be chatting with him.

It didn't take long for Hornaday to realize that more and more people were coming to see Ota Benga than to view the other animals.
Here's where the story turns truly reprehensible. 
Hornaday decided to make Ota Benga part of the exhibit. He made him live in a cage/habitat with an orangutan and a chimpanzee.
Visitors flocked to see Ota Benga with his ape companions.
The New York Times wrote that “there could be no doubt that to the majority the joint man-and-monkey exhibition was the most interesting sight in Bronx Park.”
Others, however, were angry. A group of African-American clergymen protested the shameful exhibit. Rev. James H. Gordon, superintendent of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn, stated, “Our race, we think, is depressed enough, without exhibiting one of us with the apes.
We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.” The exhibit was shut down shortly afterwards.

Ota Benga was eventually released into the custody of James Gordon, the minister who had led the charge to free him.

Ota Benga then went to live in Gordon’s black Orphanage home. But it was no place for a grown man in his mid-20's.
Still unhappy with his life, the New York Clergyman Gordon, contacted his friend who is a Private Christian Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, now Virginia University of Lynchburg, named McCrays.
And he agreed to help Ota Benga start a new life.
Carrie Ellen McCray was a little girl when Ota Benga was brought to Lynchburg. Her family Originally housed Benga in their home. Benga was provided with his own room in the home, but having grown up in a forest, he preferred camping out in the woods behind the house.
She remembers, "I was only two and a half, but my brother Hunter knew him well. Ota taught him how to make fishing rods. He taught him how to fish and he would take him out in the woods, build a fire and he would tell them stories".
However, Gordon still managed Ota Benga’s affairs, and he seemed to have definite ideas about how the 27-year-old man should live.
Gordon arranged to enroll Ota Benga in a school for non-white children.
He also got Benga a Job at a Tobacco Plant,Where he became Popular and told his story for free beer.
Ota Benga even got his teeth capped by a dentist to give him a better chance at fitting into society.
He even changed his name to Otto Bingo in an attempt to Americanize himself.

However, by 1914, Ota Benga was planning a final return to Africa.
Life in America, he decided, wasn’t for him. With the money he made from the tobacco job, Benga started putting things in order and looking for passage to the nearest port to his homeland.
By this time, King Leopold II was dead, and the Belgian government had stepped in to clean up some of the mess he’d left behind. Conditions were looking up in the Congo, and it was time to go home for good.
But this return passage was not to be.
This is because the outbreak of World War I suspended most Cross-Atlantic Shipping, and the German Occupation of Belgium threw the Congo into Bureaucratic Chaos, with nobody allowed in or out.
In March 20, 1916, Feeling depressed at the thought of not being able to return home, Ota Benga ventured out into a nearby wooded area. This was nothing unusual, as he spent much of his free time in the forest hunting and collecting herbs.
In the woods,Benga prepared a ceremonial fire. He knocked the caps off of his teeth to restore the pointed ends.
He then shot himself in the heart with a pistol.

Ota Benga's remains have been moved from its initial burial site and thus there is no specified marker for his Grave.
2. 'THE ELECTROCUTION OF GEORGE JUNIUS STINNEY Jr. (October 21, 1929 – June 16, 1944),

George Stinney was a 14-years Old African-American who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1944 in his home town of Alcolu, South Carolina, U.S.A.
He is one of the youngest persons in the United States in the 20th-century to be sentenced to death and to be executed.

Conviction(s) First-degree murder.
Stinney was convicted in less than 10 minutes, during a one-day trial, by an all-white jury of the first-degree murder of two white girls: 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames.
After being arrested, Stinney was said to have confessed to the crime.
There was no written record of his confession apart from notes provided by an investigating deputy, and no transcript was recorded of the brief trial. He was denied appeal and executed by electric chair.
Since Stinney's conviction and execution the question of his guilt, the validity of his reported confession, and the judicial process leading to his execution have been extensively criticized.
A group of lawyers and activists investigated the Stinney case on behalf of his family. In 2013 the family petitioned for a new trial. On December 17, 2014, his conviction was posthumously vacated 70 years after his execution,...
because the circuit court judge ruled that he had not been given a fair trial; he had no effective defense and his sixth Amendment rights was violated The judgment noted that while Stinney may in fact have committed the crime, the prosecution and trial were fundamentally flawed.
Judge Mullen ruled that his confession was likely coerced and thus inadmissible. She also found that the execution of a 14-year-old constituted "cruel and unusual punishment."

In 1944, George Junius Stinney Jr. lived in Alcolu, Clarendon County,South Carolina. The 14-year-old African-American boy lived with his father, George Stinney Sr., mother Aime, brothers John, age 17, and Charles, age 12, and sisters Katherine, age 10, and Aime, age 7.
George Sr. worked at the town's sawmill, and the family lived in housing provided by George Sr.'s employer. Alcolu was a small, working-class mill town, where white and black neighborhoods were separated by railroad tracks.
The town was a small Southern towns of the time, with separate schools and churches for white and black residents, who rarely interacted.

The bodies of Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 7, were found in a ditch on the black side of Alcolu on March 23, 1944.
They had been beaten with an improvised weapon variously reported as a piece of blunt metal or a railroad spike. the girls were last seen riding their bicycles looking for flowers. As they passed the Stinney property, they asked young George Stinney and his sister,
Aime, if they knew where to find "maypops", a local name for passion flowers. According to Aime, she was with George at the time of the murders.

When the girls did not return home, search parties were organized. George's father was among the searchers.
The bodies of the girls were found the next morning, on the black side of town, in a ditch filled with muddy water. According to an article reported by the wire services on March 24, 1944, and published widely, with the mistake of the boy's name preserved,...
the sheriff announced the arrest and said that "George Junius" had confessed and led officers to "a hidden piece of iron." Both girls had suffered blunt force trauma to the face and head.
Reports differed as to what kind of weapon had been used.
According to a report by the medical examiner, these wounds had been "inflicted by a blunt instrument with a round head, about the size of a hammer." Both girls' skulls were punctured. The girls had not been sexually assaulted and their hymens were intact.
The medical examiner reported the genitalia of the older girl were slightly bruised.


George Stinney was arrested on suspicion of murdering the girls along with his older brother Johnny. Johnny was released, George was held and not allowed to see his parents ..
until after his trial and conviction. According to a handwritten statement, the arresting officer was H.S. Newman, a Clarendon County deputy, who stated "I arrested a boy by the name of George Stinney.
He then made a confession and told me where to find a piece of iron about 15 inches were he said he put it in a ditch about six feet from the bicycle." No confession statement signed by Stinney is known to exist.
George was reported to have gotten into fights at school, including a fight where he scratched a girl with a knife. This assertion by Stinney's seventh-grade teacher, who was black, was disputed by Aime Stinney Ruffner when it was reported in 1995.
A local white woman who remembered Stinney from childhood said Stinney had threatened to kill her and her friend the day before the murder, and that he was known as a bully.

Following George's arrest, his father was fired from his job at the local sawmill,...
and the Stinney family had to immediately vacate the housing provided by Stinney Sr's employer. The family feared for their safety. His parents did not see George again before the trial. He had no support during his 81-day confinement and trial;
he was kept at a jail in Columbia 50 miles from town because of the risk of lynching.
Stinney was questioned alone, without his parents or an attorney. Although the Sixth Amendment guarantees legal counsel, it was not until 1966 that Miranda v. Arizona requested it's application

The entire proceeding against Stinney, including jury selection, took one day. Stinney's court-appointed defense counsel was Charles Plowden, a tax commissioner campaigning for election to local political office.
Plowden did not challenge the three police officers who testified that Stinney confessed to the two murders, despite this being the only evidence against him, and despite the prosecution's presentation of two different versions of Stinney's verbal confession.
In one version Stinney was attacked by the girls after he tried to help one girl who had fallen in the ditch and he killed them in self defense.
In the other version he had followed the girls, first attacking Mary Emma and then Betty June.
There was no physical evidence linking him to the murders. There is no written record of Stinney's confession apart from Deputy Newman's statement.

Stinney's trial had an all-white jury. More than 1,000 people crowded the courtroom but no blacks were allowed.
Other than the testimony of the three police officers, at trial prosecutors called three witnesses: Reverend Francis Batson, who discovered the bodies of the two girls, and the two doctors who performed the post-mortem examination.
Conflicting confessions were reported to have been offered by the prosecution. The court allowed discussion of the "possibility" of rape despite an absence of evidence in the medical examiner's report.
Stinney's counsel did not call any witnesses, did not cross-examine witnesses and offered little or no defense. Trial presentation lasted two and a half hours. The jury took ten minutes to deliberate, after which they returned with a guilty verdict.
The judge sentenced Stinney to death by the electric chair. There is no transcript of the trial. No appeal was filed.

Stinney's family, churches and the NAACP appealed to Governor Olin D. Johnston for clemency, given the age of the boy.
Others urged the governor to let the execution proceed, which he did. Johnston stated in a response to one appeal for clemency that "It may be interesting for you to know that Stinney killed the smaller girl to rape the larger one.
Then he killed the larger girl and raped her dead body. Twenty minutes later he returned and attempted to rape her again, but her body was too cold. All of this he admitted himself." These assertions were not supported by the medical examiner's report.
Between the time of Stinney's arrest and his execution, Stinney's parents were allowed to see him once, after the trial in the Columbia penitential.

The execution of George Stinney was carried out at the Central Correctional Institution in Columbia on June 16, 1944, at 7:30 p.m.
Stinney was Standing 5 feet 1 inch (155 cm) tall and weighing just over 90 pounds (40 kg),...
He was so small compared to the adult prisoners that law officers had difficulty securing him to the frame holding the Electrodes.The State's Adult-sized Face-Mask did not fit him; as he was hit with the first 2400-volt surge of electricity,the mask covering his face slipped off.
Stinney was declared dead within four minutes of the initial electrocution. From the time of the murders until Stinney's execution, 83 days had passed.

In 2004, George Frierson, a local historian who grew up in Alcolu, started researching the case after reading a newspaper article about it. His work gained the attention of South Carolina lawyers Steve McKenzie and Matt Burgess.
In addition, Ray Brown, attorney James Moon, and others contributed countless hours of research and review of historical documents, in finding witnesses and evidence to assist in exonerating Stinney.
Among those who aided the case were Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) at Northeastern University School of Law, who filed an amicus brief with the Court in 2014.
Frierson and the pro bono lawyers sought relief through Pardon and Parole Board of South Carolina.
McKenzie and Burgess, along with lawyer Ray Chandler representing Stinney's family, filed a motion for a new trial on October 25, 2013.

"If we can get the case re-opened, we can go to the judge and say, 'There wasn't any reason to convict this child.
There was no evidence to present to the jury. There was no transcript. This case needs to be re-opened. This is an injustice that needs to be righted.' I'm pretty optimistic that if we can get the witnesses we need to come forward, we will be successful in court.
We hopefully have a witness that's going to say that's non-family,relative witness — who is going to be able to tie all this in and say that they were basically an alibi witness. They were there with Mr. Stinney and this did not occur — Steve McKenzie

Picture of Stinney's Sister
George Frierson stated in interviews, "there has been a person that has been named as being the culprit, who is now deceased.And it was said by the family that there was a deathbed confession."
Frierson said that the rumored culprit came from a well-known, prominent white family.
member, or members, of that family had served on the initial coroner's inquest jury, which had recommended that Stinney be prosecuted.
In its amicus brief, the CRRJ said:

There is compelling evidence that George Stinney was innocent of the crimes for which he was executed in 1944. The prosecutor relied, almost exclusively, on one piece of evidence to obtain a conviction in this capital case:
the unrecorded, unsigned “confession” of a 14-year-old child who was deprived of counsel and parental guidance, and whose defense lawyer shockingly failed to call exculpating witnesses or to preserve his right of appeal.
In January 2004,New evidence in the court hearing included testimony by Stinney's siblings that he was with them at the time of the murders.
In addition,an affidavit was introduced from the "Reverend Francis Batson, who found the girls and pulled them from the water-filled ditch.
In his statement he recalls there was not much blood in or around the ditch, suggesting that they may have been killed elsewhere and moved." Wilford "Johnny" Hunter, who was in prison with Stinney,

Picture : Stinny's elder brother. He too was arrested but later released.
testified that the teenager told him he had been made to confess" and always maintained his innocence.

Family members of both Betty Binnicker and Mary Thames expressed disappointment at the ruling.
They said that, although they acknowledge his execution at the age of 14 is controversial, they never doubted his guilt. The niece of Betty Binnicker has said she and her family have extensively researched the case, and argues that "people who [just] read these articles ...
in the newspaper don't know the truth."
Binnicker's niece said that, in the early 1990s, a police officer who had arrested Stinney had contacted her and said: "Don't you ever believe that boy didn't kill your aunt."
These family members said that the claims of a deathbed confession from an individual confessing to the girls' murders have never been substantiated.

The solicitor for the state of South Carolina, who argued for the state against exoneration, was Ernest A. Finney III.
Rather than approving a new trial, on December 17, 2014, circuit court Judge Carmen Mullen vacated Stinney's conviction. She ruled that he had not received a fair trial, as he was not effectively defended and his Sixth Amendment right had been violated.
The Judge Mullen ruled that his confession was likely coerced and thus inadmissible. She also found that the execution of a 14-year-old constituted "cruel and unusual punishment", and that his attorney "failed to call exculpating witnesses or to preserve his right of appeal.
Mullen confined her judgment to the process of the prosecution, noting that Stinney "may well have committed this crime." With reference to the legal process Mullen wrote "No one can justify a 14-year-old child charged, tried, convicted and executed in some 80 days,"
concluding that "In essence, not much was done for this child when his life lay in the balance."


It therefore means, 14year Old Stinney was Unjustly Executed simply because he was Black. Him being a Black was Enough reason to hung him with the crime.
Ironically, it took 70years for the truth to comeout. Sad indeed!

We will look at how Nigerians were being sold during the Slave trade

Sources : NGU Library Collection, Wikipedia

#Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna (NGU)
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