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 Season 1 Revolutionary War Poem How did this poem, written by an American prisoner in England in 1780 end up in Oregon 200 years later?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Navajo Rug Why would a weaver depart from tradition to make this rug?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Texas Servant Girl Murders Years before Jack the Ripper, did a serial killer walk the streets of Austin, TX?
- Related Investigation Seadrome Did floating airports dot the Atlantic before modern air travel?
- Related Investigation Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
- Also in this episode Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
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