Tea Talk: Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity

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Tea Talk: Richard Potter: America’s First Black Celebrity

March 4 @ 12:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Author Presentation, Living History Performance, Book Signing & House Tour

Apart from a handful of exotic and almost completely unreliable tales surrounding his life, Richard Potter is mostly unknown today. Two hundred years ago he was the most popular entertainer in America—in fact, the first showman to win nationwide fame. His story is even more remarkable in that Richard Potter was also a black man. Working as a magician and ventriloquist, he personified for an entire generation what a popular performer was and made an invaluable contribution to establishing popular entertainment as a major part of American life.

Join author John Hodgson as he shares his work on one of the most captivating personalities in the history of his craft. Get a rare peek backstage at the dawning of the entertainment industry, the rise of American celebrity and learn of Potter’s New Hampshire connection.

“The thrill I felt in reading Hodgson’s pathbreaking book—and, through it, discovering Richard Potter, the man and his times—was, in a word, magical.” Henry Louis Gates Jr.

This event will also offer a living history performance featuring Bob Olson, a book signing, and a guided backstage tour of the Portsmouth Music Hall.
Author John Hodgson and Living History Performer Bob Olson
Robert Olson, from Old Sturbridge Village, has spent the past 30 years studying and recreating Potter’s magic.

12:30 – 1:30 pm Tour of Portsmouth Music Hall [TBA]
2: 00- 2:30 pm Living History Performance
2:30 – 3:15 Author Presentation
3:15 – 4:00 Q&A
Book Signing and Refreshments

$10 Registration is required. Register Here

Part of the 2018 Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks – READ MORE


March 4
12:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Temple Israel
200 State Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
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Contact Info
Mail: PO Box 6772, Portsmouth NH 03801
Phone: 617-539-6886
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Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire works to visibly honor and celebrate a truer more inclusive state’s history through exhibits, programs and tours that can change the way our country understands human dignity when it is free of historical stereotypes.

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