History Detectives

Season 2 Episode 7

Migrant Poems

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Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Aug 16, 2004 on PBS
7.5
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Migrant Poems
AIRED:
Ventriloquist Dummy The Place: Brooklyn, New York An African American woman in Brooklyn, New York, has her father's black ventriloquist dummy, "Sam." Her 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? Witch's House? The Place: Essex County, Massachusetts Did this house once belong to an accused witch? History Detectives heads to New England to research the likelihood with local historians and a descendant of the accused witch, Martha Carrier, who was executed by hanging in 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Migrant Poems The Place: San Francisco, California 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. The experience of these immigrants is documented in hundreds of poems that have been carved into the walls of the Angel Island detention center. Many of these have been translated, but little is known about the authors. Kathleen Wong, a second-generation Chinese American, believes that her grandfather and great grandfather spent time on the island and that her great grandfather may have died there, but she knows little about her ancestors' experiences on Angel Island and their possible connection with the poems. History Detectives investigates the story of her family's passage to the United States to find out if any of the poems were written by her ancestors.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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Wes Cowan

Wes Cowan

antiques appraiser/auctioneer

Elyse Luray

Elyse Luray

antiques appraiser

Gwen Wright

Gwen Wright

Columbia University architectural historian

Tukufu Zuberi

Tukufu Zuberi

University of Pennsylvania sociologist

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