Charlie Parker's Saxophone? The Place: Oakland, California A woman 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." Is the story true? Did these two musicians ever meet? Would troubled musical genius Charlie Parker abandon his horn? Prison Plaque The Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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, on which was the 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 it a sign of desperate recruiting measures for the "war to end all wars", when even prisoners are being sent into battle? Koranic School Book The Place: Mulvane, Kansas A 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 from the Koran. What are they doing there? And how did this frontier farmer learn about Islam? Taking on this tough challenge, the History Detectives reach some startling conclusions about U.S. contact with the Muslim world and the story of Islam in America.moreless
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