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 Baker's Gold What role did these unusual drawings play in one of the largest mass migrations in American history?
- Related Investigation Lost Musical Treasure Are these fragments of a lost moment in American musical history?
- Related Investigation Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
- Also with Wes Cowan WWII Patch What is the story behind these patches?
- Also in Season 3 Unwed Mother's Home Is this small medallion enough information to help a woman find her birth parents?
- Also with Wes Cowan Manhattan Project Patent Was this drawing part of America's secret plans to fuel the atomic bomb?
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