Journalistic persuasion is all in the title. He did not call Lynchburg home. March 29, 2006 Conference sparks new interest in life of African pygmy who called Lynchburg home Ota Benga Video The only known photo of Ota Benga, now in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society. His wide smile belied the truth of a life filled with inhumane treatment. Ota Benga was an African pygmy brought to America as an exhibit for the 1904 World's Fair. For years after, he was displayed as an example of how man evolved from the apes, even spending time in the chimpanzee cage at the Bronx Zoo. On the only known photograph of Ota Benga, someone inaccurately wrote that he was a cannibal. Ota Benga moved to Lynchburg in 1910 and studied at the Virginia Seminary. Despondent because he couldn't afford to return home to Africa, he killed himself in March, 1916. Records show that Ota Benga was buried in the Old City Cemetery, but there is anecdotal evidence that he was later moved here to White Rock Cemetery, to a site that was marked by four metal posts with a pipe in the middle. At some point Laura Munson and the others would like to exhume the body that's buried here, and let a DNA test settle the question. Munson says it's about honor and respect. "He wanted his remains to be back in the Congo and I think that's important," she told News Seven. Organizers are sponsoring a conference for residents to learn more about Ota Benga and the plight of present-day pygmies as well. "We ask what have we done to them," said African scholar W. S. Dibinga, "and what can we do, not to change them, but to learn from them." The conference runs through Saturday.