Support provided by:
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 Lawrence Billy Club Was this truncheon used in the famous Bread and Roses labor strike?
- Related Investigation Drug Smuggling Doll What does this doll reveal about disease, death and daring during the Civil War?
- Related Investigation Marshall House Flag Did this piece of fabric come from a flag that cost a Union colonel his life?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Little Bighorn Bayonet Could this bayonet have been used at one of the largest massacres of U.S. soldiers by American Indians?
- Also with Wes Cowan Mankato Spoon What does this delicate silver spoon have to do with the largest mass execution in American history?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi 1856 Mormon Tale Is this tattered book a true account of female slavery in the old West?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.
Anyone wishing to submit an artifact for investigation should do so through Submit a Story.
- Submit your StoryDo you have a Civil War object? Submit your story now.
- Latest CommentIt turns out that this collage was sold last fall: http://www.worthpoint.com/wort... I wonder if it would be possible to contact the buyer by way of the auction house about getting a print made. (2 weeks ago)
- Twitterremember this investigation with @TukufuZuberi @elyseluray Tonight they reunite! Let us know your thoughts! @PBS http://t.co/4KMnc27K (8 months ago)
- FacebookCongrats on your exhibit, TZ! Here's a Washington Post article about the exhibit, everyone, and the great story TZ and Elyse did on his "Our Colored Heroes" story. http://tinyurl.com/mzpuyo8 http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/our-colored-heroes/ (2 weeks ago)