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 War Dog letter The military put great effort into a new War Dogs program during WWII. What went wrong on Cat Island?
- Related Investigation Front Street Blockhouse Did this unassuming house protect an American colony from attack almost 300 years ago?
- Related Investigation WB Cartoons What can this curious artwork tell us about some of our most beloved cartoon characters?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi John Brown Letters How is this woman in Sacramento related to John Brown, the 19th-century abolitionist?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Cromwell Dixon Plane Fragment What could this faded scrap of fabric tell us about the first pilot to conquer the Continental Divide?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Japanese Carved Cane What can the message on this cane expose about life behind barbed wire in World War II America?
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