Conjure Times: Black Magicians in America
Gr 6-8-A lively, interesting, carefully researched look at a unique aspect of African-American history and culture that introduces the lives of black magicians, beginning with Richard Potter, “America’s First Negro Magician,” son of a plantation owner and a slave. Using black-and-white reproductions of playbills, advertisements, woodcuts, and period photographs, the history of the minstrel show and vaudeville is discussed as part of the development of theatrical magic shows. Slavery, racial discrimination, and segregation are discussed as part of the social history surrounding the lives of the performers profiled. The authors note that personal information on many performers was difficult to find, and the gaps help readers understand how much African-American history has been lost. Descriptions of popular trademark tricks are highlighted in boxes in each chapter. Budding magicians will find this book appealing, and it will be a great addition to African-American history collections.