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 Transatlantic Cable How did this twisted fragment of metal spark a communications revolution?
- Related Investigation Red Cloud Letter How was a leader of the Lakota people connected with the controversial sculptor of Mount Rushmore?
- Related Investigation Japanese Balloon Bomb Is this scrap of fabric evidence of a secret wartime attack on the United States' mainland?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Preston Brook's Riding Crop Was this riding crop a gift from Jefferson Davis as a reward for attacking a political opponent?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lincoln Oath Was this note penned by Abraham Lincoln?
- Also in this episode Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot Did the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln begin in this New York City building?
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