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 Mark Twain's Watch Was this watch a gift from noted author American author Mark Twain?
- Related Investigation Lee Family Doll Did this doll belong to a former slave of General Robert E. Lee?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lafitte's Spyglass Did this spyglass really belong to a fearless cutthroat pirate?
- Also with Wes Cowan Goering Gun Did this shotgun belong to Hitler's right hand man?
- Related Investigation Cannon House Could this family home once have been the headquarters of the kidnapper and slave trader Patty Cannon?
- Also with Wes Cowan Long Expedition Is this the site of the one of the most significant expeditions in the United States?
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