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 in Season 3 WWI Chemical Warfare Map Could this map be an authentic relic from a critical WWI battle?
- Also with Wes Cowan Chinese Poems Who were the authors of the poems describing bitterness and misery on the Angel Island detention center walls?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Ventriloquist Dummy How did an African-American ventriloquist act become so successful in a time of racial unrest?
- Also with Wes Cowan Vietnam War Diary Why did this story capture international interest?
- Related Investigation Black Star Line Is this certificate a rare artifact from the heyday of Marcus Garvey?
- Related Investigation Marshall House Flag Did this piece of fabric come from a flag that cost a Union colonel his life?
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.