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History Detectives: Civil War Deringers; Motown Amp; Fiery Cross

Airs Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

HISTORY DETECTIVES host, Wes Cowan, investigates in his own home state the hi...

Credit: Courtesy of Fran Laks

Above: HISTORY DETECTIVES host, Wes Cowan, investigates in his own home state the history of these matching Civil War era pistols and hunts down the mystery behind the original owner.

HISTORY DETECTIVES is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects. Traditional investigative techniques, modern technologies, and plenty of legwork are the tools the HISTORY DETECTIVES team of experts uses to give new - and sometimes shocking - insights into our national history.

The hosts of the program are a high-energy group of renowned experts in the world of historical investigations. Their expertise ranges from architecture, popular culture and sociology to archeology, collectibles and genealogy.

Wes Cowan is an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Elyse Luray is independent appraiser and expert in art history; Gwendolyn Wright is a professor of architecture, planning and preservation, and professor of history, Columbia University; Tukufu Zuberi is a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Eduardo Pagan is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University.

Each hour-long episode of HISTORY DETECTIVES features three investigations that delve into family legends, local folklore and stories behind potentially extraordinary objects in everyday American homes, cities and small towns. Follow the twists and turns of each investigation and find out more about the historical events that shaped America.

"Civil War Deringers; Motown Amp; Fiery Cross" (Season 10) airs Tuesday, July 24 at 8 p.m. - Wes Cowan hunts for the identity of a man whose name is engraved on a rare matched set of Civil War-era pistols, still in the original case.

Tukufu Zuberi tracks down the story behind an old 78rpm, distributed by K.K.K. Records, containing songs titled “The Bright Fiery Cross” and “The Jolly Old Klansman.”

And Eduardo Pagán tries to prove that James Jamerson, a bass player whose bass line drove the Motown sound, owned a battered Ampeg B-15 amp that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will display — but only if inductee Jamerson really owned it.

This program originally aired July 24, 2012.

History Detectives: Season 10 Preview

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Watch Season 10 Preview on PBS. See more from History Detectives.

Web Extra: Jamerson Jam

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Watch Web Extra: Jamerson Jam on PBS. See more from History Detectives.

Watch this extended version of the Funk Brothers jam session.

Submit Your Mysteries To History Detectives

Do you have an object that you think may have played a starring role in American history but don't quite know how? Why not give the HISTORY DETECTIVES a crack at it!

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