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History Detectives Previous Broadcasts

Charlie Parker Saxophone/Prison Plaque/Koranic School Book (Episode #211Z)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 15, 2019 -- 11:04 PM

Charlie Parker Saxophone - A woman in Oakland, California, owns a beautiful old alto saxophone that belonged to her father and according to family legend was once owned by the legendary jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker. Her late father, a white musician, told her that when they lived in Portland, Oregon, Charlie Parker came to a practice session without his horn. The story goes that when her father chided Parker for selling his instrument, Bird said, "If you want the horn so much, here's the pawn ticket." But is the story true? Did these two musicians ever meet? Would Charlie Parker abandon his horn? HISTORY DETECTIVES investigates an original American art form and the life of a troubled musical genius. Prison Plaque - In the heart of Philadelphia stands the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary building. Founded by Quakers in 1829, this castle-like structure set new standards for prisons across the country with its progressive ideas for rehabilitation. Recently, a group in charge of preserving this historic structure found a strange plaque discarded in a pile of rubbish. Dusting it off, they found an intriguing inscription: "In the everlasting memory of the inmates of Eastern State Penitentiary who served in World War I." Even more intriguing is that fact that they are listed not by name, but by their prison numbers. From what they know, convicted felons were prohibited from enlisting or being drafted to fight in the war. Is this an example of the prison's progressive take on prisoner reform? Or is this a sign of desperate recruiting measures for the "war to end all wars," when even prisoners are being sent into battle? History Detectives Tukufu Zuberi and Wes Cowan are on the case to get to the bottom of this mystery. Koranic School Book - A HISTORY DETECTIVES viewer in Mulvane, Kansas, owns a 200-year-old schoolbook with a startling secret. The book belonged to a young woman from Kentucky in 1800, but contains two translated passages of the Koran. What are they doing there? And how did this frontier farmer learn about Islam? Taking on this tough challenge, the detectives reach some startling conclusions about U.S. contact with the Muslim world and the story of Islam in America.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 16, 2019 -- 5:04 AM

Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun/Paul Cuffee Muster Roll/Pop Lloyd Baseball Field (Episode #210Z)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 8, 2019 -- 11:04 PM

* Pretty Boy Floyd Handgun - A man in La Verne, California, owns a vintage Colt automatic handgun, which family legend suggests once belonged to the Depression-era desperado, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd. According to the legend, Floyd gave the gun to the contributor's uncle who had served as the lookout for "Pretty Boy." To find out if the story behind the gun is true, Wes Cowan travels to California, Oklahoma and Missouri. In the process, he discovers why gangsters became heroes to the rural population of the Midwest and reveals the true story behind the dramatic rise and fall of a man who ranks alongside Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger as one of the most colorful bank robbers in American history.
* Paul Cuffee Muster Roll - A Las Vegas man owns an old Continental Armymuster roll issued by the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, in July 1780. Among the 16 men listed is "Paul Cuffee." The contributor wants to know if this could be evidence of an unknown episode in the life of Cuffee, a remarkable African American who was a whaling captain, shipbuilder and early advocate of the "Back to Africa" movement. HD uncovers a dramatic story of African-American achievement in the years surrounding the Revolutionary War.
* Pop Lloyd Baseball Field - Why was a baseball field in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named after an African-American ballplayer in a time of intense racial tension? HD goes to the park to unearth the explanation. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd was one of the greatest athletes of his time. A famed shortstop in the Negro Leagues throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, Pop was honored with a field in his name in 1949. What was the reasoning that led to this unlikely honor in a time of blatant prejudice and racial division?

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 9, 2019 -- 5:04 AM

Lost Gold Ship/John Hunt Morgan Saddle/Cesar Chavez Banner (Episode #209Z)

KQED Plus: Tue, Oct 1, 2019 -- 11:04 PM

* Lost Gold Ship - Environmentalist Gabriel Scott was working in the Copper River Delta near Cordova, Alaska, when he came across the wreckage of an old ship. According to locals, these are the remains of the SS Portland, the famous steamship that carried 68 miners and nearly two tons of gold from the Klondike River to Seattle harbor and began the great Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Could the stories be true? To find out, Elyse Luray joins a team of experts in Alaska to investigate the wreck. Mixing maritime history and forensic science, the team reveals the dramatic story of the SS Portland and confirms whether Scott has found the remains of this legendary ship.
* John Hunt Morgan Saddle - A man in Paris, Kentucky, owns a beautifully preserved Western-style saddle, believed to have been used by the Confederate general, John Hunt Morgan, on his famous raid into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio in July 1863. Could this be a relic from one of the most audacious attacks launched by the South during the Civil War? Wes Cowan is on the case and reveals a surprising personal connection: Wes' great-grandfather was actually one of "Morgan's Raiders" and was captured alongside Morgan during the historic raid.
* Cesar Chavez Banner - A San Francisco woman has heard about a beautiful old banner owned by a local archive that, rumor has it, was carried at the head of the famous Delano Grape Boycott march led by Cesar Chavez in 1966. The banner features a painted Virgin of Guadalupe and a Union of Farm Workers Eagle, but its original ownership is a mystery. The contributor wants to know what role this banner may have played in Chavez' campaign to pursue better living conditions and rights for Mexican-American farm workers. HD travels to the West Coast to investigate the importance of art in one of the most famous civil rights campaigns in U.S. history.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Wed, Oct 2, 2019 -- 5:04 AM
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