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Black Magic: Richard Potter Reappears


Two hundred years ago, Richard Potter was one of the most coveted performers in America. He garnered nationwide fame through magic and ventriloquism and made popular entertainment a fixture of American life.

He was also black, born in 1783. His father had previously been enslaved.

In the new book, “Richard Potter: America’s First Celebrity,” author John A. Hodgson pieces together Potter’s enigmatic life and illuminates just how groundbreaking he really was as a performer and a public figure. He also asks how Potter could have gone from being one of the most famous men in America to a relative unknown today.


John Hodgson, Author, “Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity”

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