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 in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 St Valentine's Day Massacre Was this weapon fired in one of the nation's most infamous crimes?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Jackie Robinson Scorecard What does this scorecard reveal about the desegregation of our national pastime?
- Related Investigation Mankato Spoon What does this delicate silver spoon have to do with the largest mass execution in American history?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Slave Banjo Is this the only surviving banjo carried by former slaves following Emancipation?
- Related Investigation Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi 1856 Mormon Tale Is this tattered book a true account of female slavery in the old West?
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