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 Dueling Pistols Were these pistols used in the last great duel on U.S. soil?
- Also in Season 3 Poison Pin Are these prototypes for poison suicide pins carried by spy plane pilots during the Cold War?
- Related Investigation Fiery Cross What is the story behind this record?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi 32' Ford Roadster Was this car among the popular hot rods that raced out at the dry lakes in the 1930s?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Preston Brook's Riding Crop Was this riding crop a gift from Jefferson Davis as a reward for attacking a political opponent?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Duke Ellington Plates What is the story behind the printing plates for this famous Jazz song?
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.