"An indigenous Mexican woman put on display in Victorian-era Europe because of a rare genetic condition that covered her face in thick hair was buried in her home state on Tuesday in a ceremony that ends one of the best-known episodes from an era when human bodies were treated as collectible specimens.
With her hairy face and body, jutting jaw and other deformities, Julia Pastrana became known as the "ape woman" after she left the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa in 1854, when she was 20, and was taken around the United States by showman Theodore Lent, according to a Norwegian commission that studied her case.She sang and danced for paying audiences, becoming a sensation who also toured Europe and Russia"
Here is a picture of Juia Pastrana:
Years later, looking through a book on the history of carnivals, I came across the picture again, this time of course correctly describing what it was. As you can imagine, I was quite surprised, but at least I was set straight (not that I ever believed that it was really a black person-ape hybrid. Please give me that much credit.) But how many ignorant, gullible, hate filled people swallowed this story, fully convinced that it proved that blacks and whites were not the same species?
Whoever wrote this story must have know that it was a lie, but it accomplished its purpose- spreading racist hatred- so I am sure that like right wingers everywhere, they didn't give a damn that they were engaging in one of the lowest forms of human behavior possible. Well, that's the legacy that we still bear, so that a miniscule percentage of rich people in the South could claim to own other human beings. And no, sad to say, we have not paid off their debt, a hundred and fifty years later, and their descendants are working as hard as ever to see that the debt hangs around our necks forever.
As the lady said, "What a world."