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.
- Related Investigation Lee Family Doll Did this doll belong to a former slave of General Robert E. Lee?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi WB Cartoons What can this curious artwork tell us about some of our most beloved cartoon characters?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Prison Plaque Were convicted felons responsible for bringing peace to Western Europe during World War I?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Internment Artwork What is the story behind these watercolor paintings of a prison camp?
- Related Investigation Civil War Soldier Photo Is this the photo of a Civil War soldier actually a woman in disguise?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Home of Lincoln Assassination Plot Did the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln begin in this New York City building?
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.