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 Jim Thorpe Ticket Is this ticket evidence of a chapter of Thorpe's career forgotten by history: as a professional basketball player?
- Related Investigation Black Star Line Is this certificate a rare artifact from the heyday of Marcus Garvey?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Harley Davidson Motorcycle Did this motorcycle see action in World War I?
- Related Investigation Society Circus Program Why are some of New York's wealthiest planning a circus at the depth of the Great Depression?
- Also in Season 1 Old Fire Station Did President Ulysses S. Grant stop by a New Jersey firehouse on the centennial of America?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Birth Control Box Could this unusual wooden box be an early contraceptive device?
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