This series explores the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
History Detectives Previous Broadcasts
Cherokee Bible/Slave Banjo/United Empire Loyalists (Episode #304)
KQED 9: Tue, Aug 18, 2015 -- 11:00 PM
* Cherokee Bible - An Austin, Texas, resident of Cherokee descent inherited a mysterious bible from her father. Having grown up speaking English only, she is intrigued by what appears to be Cherokee writing in the bible, and wants to learn more about her own family's history. This native language was "invented" by the Cherokee Indian Sequoia in the early 1800s in a desperate effort to win the respect of the U.S. authorities for his people. While Sequoia succeeded in establishing literacy rates in excess of the encroaching white settlers, the Cherokee were ultimately forced to march on the infamous "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma. The History Detectives learn more about one of the most tragic events in U. S. history as they head to Oklahoma and Tennessee to tackle the genealogical mystery behind the contributor's bible.
* Slave Banjo - A beautiful, worn banjo was recently purchased by a Chicago resident on an online auction. 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. Could this be the only slave banjo known to exist? Enlisting the help of blues musician Taj Mahal, HD 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 that most American-sounding of musical instruments.
* United Empire Loyalists - A contributor from Northridge, California, recently came across a family tree, which contained the words "United Empire Loyalist" scribbled alongside several names. Curious, she began her own investigation and discovered that the United Empire Loyalists were descendants of the more than 50,000 people who fled to Canada following the defeat of the British in the Revolutionary War. (Today, UEL is the only hereditary title conferred by the Canadian government.) HD travels to Canada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to learn more about this mysterious family link to a forgotten story of the Revolutionary War.