Investigations

Ventriloquist Dummy

The Case:

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.

Discuss this story

Aired:
Season 1, Episode 8
Season 2, Episode 7

Detective:
Tukufu Zuberi Location:
Brooklyn, New York

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