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History Detectives: Hot Town Poster, Face Jug, Lost City Of Gold

Airs Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Tim Schmitt (right) of Des Moines, Iowa, has long wondered about the story behind the angry images in this poster. We see a photo of what looks like a stern police officer, a clenched fist, and the wording: “Hot Town – Pigs In The Streets…But The Streets Belong To The People! Dig It?” He asks history detective Tukufu Zuberi (left) to find out who made this poster and why.

America's top gumshoes are back to prove once again that an object found in an attic or backyard might be anything but ordinary. Wesley Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, historian and professor of architecture, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; Dr. Eduardo Pagán, professor of history and American studies at Arizona State University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, leave no stone unturned as they travel around the country to explore the stories behind local folklore, prominent figures and family legends.

A construction worker found this jug while excavating to build a school in Germantown, Pa., yet HISTORY DETECTIVES host travels to South Carolina to find the origin of this pottery. Did this face jug travel to Pennsylvania by way of the Underground Railroad?
Enlarge this image

Above: A construction worker found this jug while excavating to build a school in Germantown, Pa., yet HISTORY DETECTIVES host travels to South Carolina to find the origin of this pottery. Did this face jug travel to Pennsylvania by way of the Underground Railroad?

"Hot Town Poster" - This poster tells the story of a battle brewing. We see a photo of what looks like a stern police officer, a clenched fist, and the wording: “Hot Town – Pigs In The Streets…But The Streets Belong To The People! Dig It?” Who made this poster and why?

Aaron Wright of Tuscon, Ariz. has always wondered about the inscription on the rock behind these bars in a park just outside of Phoenix. If this inscription is authentic, Spanish explorers came to the American 
Southwest much earlier than historians previously thought.
Enlarge this image

Above: Aaron Wright of Tuscon, Ariz. has always wondered about the inscription on the rock behind these bars in a park just outside of Phoenix. If this inscription is authentic, Spanish explorers came to the American Southwest much earlier than historians previously thought.

"Face Jug" - Our Pennsylvania contributor has a startling piece of art – a ceramic jug with eyes, nose, ears and teeth bared in a grimace. In 1950 her grandfather, a plumber, was digging up land for a school in Germantown, Pa., and found this peculiar piece of pottery. Our contributor suspects African Americans made this face jug during the Civil War era and wonders if it came to Philadelphia on the Underground Railroad. What’s the story behind this peculiar pottery?

"Lost City Of Gold" - A Preservation Fellow at the Center for Desert Archaeology in Tucson, Arizona, our contributor has long pondered an inscription on a rock wall in South Mountain Park just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. The inscription, which was discovered in the 1920s, reads: “Fr Marcos de Niza corona todo el nuebo Mexico a su costa 1539.” Roughly translated it means, “Fray Marcos de Niza crowned all of New Mexico at his expense, 1539.” If this date is accurate, then de Niza was the first European in the Phoenix area, and Spanish explorers arrived in America much earlier than records show.

Video

Submit Your Mystery To History Detectives

Above: Let HISTORY DETECTIVES solve your mystery! Please tell us about an object that you think may have played a starring role - or was just along for the ride - among the newsworthy people, places or events in American history. This could be blackouts or boycotts, inaugurations or integration, pop art or pop culture, Joe Frasier or Joe DiMaggio, the Golden Spike or the Golden Gate and more! Send us your mystery.

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