A beautiful, worn banjo is purchased by a Chicago resident at an auction a few years ago.
A tattered note inside says the banjo dates to the mid-1800s and was bought from a former slave in Bethel, Ohio, by an abolitionist family some time after Emancipation.
According to the note, the slave who owned the banjo and the boy who ultimately purchased the banjo had once shared a classroom. Could this be the only slave banjo known to exist?
History Detectives is off to Ohio and Maryland to trace the roots of two American families divided by racial lines during the Civil War and to track the surprising lineage of an instrument that has contributed to more than 200 years of American music.
- Also with Wes Cowan Cast Iron Eagle Did this 12-foot-high eagle once grace the old Grand Central Station in Manhattan?
- Related Investigation Liberty Bell Pin Was one of America’s most iconic symbols melted down into a mere memento?
- Also with Wes Cowan Valley Forge Map Did George Washington use this map during the American Revolution?
- Related Investigation John Hunt Morgan Saddle Could this be a saddle from one of the most audacious attacks launched by the South during the Civil War?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 John Brown Pike How did this metal blade spark violent tension between the North and the South?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi The Disappearance of Glenn Miller In 1944, bandleader Glenn Miller boarded a plane for Paris and was never seen again. What happened?
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