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 Lewis & Clark's Cane Was this family heirloom a gift from the famous explorers Lewis and Clark?
- Also with Wes Cowan U.S.S Olympia Glass Could this farmhouse door have sailed into battle in one of the country's greatest naval victories?
- Also in Season 3 Geronimo Photograph Is this photo really an image of the legendary Apache warrior Geronimo?
- Also with Wes Cowan Bonus Army Stamp Is this stamp connected to a moment when the U.S. Army fought fellow soldiers in the nation’s capital?
- Related Investigation Philadelphia Freedom Paper Is this document found in a flea market an original freedom paper for African-Americans?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Chief Black Kettle Are these war spoils of a Cheyenne chief?
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.