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.
- Related Investigation Mouse Toy Could this tiny toy labeled 'Micky' be the original Mickey Mouse?
- Related Investigation Black Star Line Is this certificate a rare artifact from the heyday of Marcus Garvey?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Japanese Carved Cane What can the message on this cane expose about life behind barbed wire in World War II America?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Liberia Letter Does this letter help to trace one freed man’s dream to return to Africa?
- Also in Season 2 Lewis & Clark's Cane Was this family heirloom a gift from the famous explorers Lewis and Clark?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Texas Servant Girl Murders Years before Jack the Ripper, did a serial killer walk the streets of Austin, TX?
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