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 Red Hand Flag Is this peculiar flag one that African-American soldiers marched under in the war to end all wars?
- Related Investigation Pretty Boy Floyd's Gun Did this vintage Colt handgun belong to the outlaw Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Rogue Book Who did this book of rogue characters belong to?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Suffrage Pennant What can this pennant tell us about one woman's role at a crucial point in Women's Suffrage movement?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Bill Picket Saddle Did this saddle ride into cowboy history with one of rodeo's most daring innovators?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Natchez House How did a free man of color come to own this house twelve years before emancipation?
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