At the turn of the 20th century the main theatrical entertainment was Vaudeville, a show with something for everyone.
It was a world dominated by white entertainers, but despite this, a pioneering new act with an African-American ventriloquist emerged onto the scene.
Not only was John W. Cooper black, but his dummy was too.
Did "Sam" the first black ventriloquist dummy, transform how Americans viewed race in the early 20th century?
The History Detectives investigate.
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Nesbit Portrait Is this portrait a lost masterpiece by one of America's greatest artists?
- Related Investigation WWI Chemical Warfare Map Could this map be an authentic relic from a critical WWI battle?
- Related Investigation Survivor Camera Did this antique camera save a Polish Jew during the Holocaust?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Philadelphia Freedom Paper Is this document found in a flea market an original freedom paper for African-Americans?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi 32' Ford Roadster Was this car among the popular hot rods that raced out at the dry lakes in the 1930s?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Tiffany Window What can this watercolor reveal about the unexpected world of one of America’s great artists?
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