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 this episode Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot Did the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln begin in this New York City building?
- Related Investigation Mussolini's Dagger Did a World War II GI return home with Mussolini's dagger?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Cast Iron Eagle Did this 12-foot-high eagle once grace the old Grand Central Station in Manhattan?
- Related Investigation Birthplace Of Hip Hop Did this Bronx apartment building give birth to a culture that now spans the globe?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Booth Letter Did the father of John Wilkes Booth threaten to assassinate the President?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Slave Banjo Is this the only surviving banjo carried by former slaves following Emancipation?
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