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 with Tukufu Zuberi Car Tape Deck Is this an example of the first ever commercially produced car tape player?
- Related Investigation Front Street Blockhouse Did this unassuming house protect an American colony from attack almost 300 years ago?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Wartime Baseball Is this baseball evidence of an unusual ballgame that took place during segregation?
- Related Investigation Nazi Spy Toys Did a Nazi spy buy these toy soldiers?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Booth Letter Did the father of John Wilkes Booth threaten to assassinate the President?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Black Tom Shell Is this shell from a devastating act of foreign sabotage on American soil?
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