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 Civil War: 1850-1877 Chief Black Kettle Are these war spoils of a Cheyenne chief?
- Also with Wes Cowan Doc Holliday's Watch Was this watch a gift from the fearless frontier lawman Wyatt Earp to the gambler Doc Holliday?
- Also with Wes Cowan McKinley Casket Flag Did this flag once drape the casket of President William McKinley?
- Related Investigation General Lee's Farewell Address Could this be a signed copy of one of the most famous documents in the history of the Civil War?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Newport U-Boat Did these propellers come from a WWII German submarine?
- Related Investigation Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
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