History Detectives: Sam, The Queen of Hell & Angel Island
Views: 1

History Detectives: Sam, The Queen of Hell & Angel Island

Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m.

The detectives are on the case of a ventriloquist dummy named "Sam."

The owner's father, John Cooper, was the first famous African-American ventriloquist. In a time of minstrel stereotypes, did "Sam" help transform how Americans viewed race in the early 20th century? How was this dummy created and was it meant to be a protest against racial prejudice?

Then, could a house in Essex County, Massachusetts, have once belonged to an accused witch? Might a woman who was called the "Queen of Hell" have owned this home?

And finally, a visit to Angel Island. In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 250,000 Chinese immigrants attempted to enter the United States. Because of discrimination against Chinese and laws meant to impede their passage, most were detained and interrogated on Angel Island, America's West Coast immigration center in San Francisco.

Pictured, left to right: Gwen Wright, Eduardo Pagan, Tukufu Zuberi, Elyse Luray, Wes Cowan.