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 GAR Photograph How did two African Americans come to be part of this photograph in Reconstructionist-era America?
- Related Investigation Bill Picket Saddle Did this saddle ride into cowboy history with one of rodeo's most daring innovators?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Nora Holt Autograph Book Why did this Harlem Renaissance luminary own a book filled with U.S. Presidents' signatures?
- Also in Season 1 Dutch Colonial Home What role did these menacing forts play in the settling of this part of the West?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Isleton Tong Was this building a safe haven for persecuted immigrants, or a hub for organized crime?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Luxury Liner Picture Frame Is this picture frame a piece of the Titanic, Lusitania or neither?
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