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History Detectives

Hindenburg Artifact

A Hoboken, New Jersey, man has a palm-sized, army-green metal box that looks like an instrument panel. Beneath a shattered plastic covering is a sliding, numbered scale; knobs on each end move a lever across the scale. German writing indicates the country of origin. Might this instrument have been recovered from the crash site of the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey? Family lore says that a distant relative was among the many bystanders plucking souvenirs from the wreckage of the terrifying disaster. Chemicals from the fire or balloon envelope gas would have evaporated 10 minutes after the explosion, but the broken plastic can be tested for age and heat distress with forensic analysis of the instrument. "History Detectives" host Elyse Luray travels to Atlanta and the New Jersey landing site of the ill-fated zeppelin to determine if the instrument panel is in fact from the horrifying crash. John Adams Book - A woman in Littleton, New Hampshire, inherited her husband's aunt's belongings, which include a curious late-18th-century book titled Trials of Patriots. It contains what appears to be President John Adams' signature in three places, and includes an inscription, "Charles Adams from His Father, 1794." The book is a collection of trial transcripts chronicling the sedition trials of Irish and Scottish radicals. If the book is indeed from Adams to his son, it could reveal pivotal clues about the inner-workings of this presidential family. In Boston and John Adams' hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, "History Detectives" host Gwendolyn Wright examines the Adams family's correspondence and conflict as they balanced home life with public service. Birthplace of Hip Hop - A hip-hop enthusiast from New York City has always heard that 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop. The story goes that on August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc, a building resident, was entertaining at his sister's back-to-school party and tried something new on the turntable: he extended an instrumental beat (breaking or scratching) to let people dance longer (breakdancing) and began MC'ing (rapping) during the extended breakdancing. This, the contributor believes, marked the birth of hip-hop. The music led to an entire cultural movement that's altered generational thinking - from politics and race to art and language. "History Detectives" host Tukufu Zuberi sets out to examine an inner-city environment that helped lay the foundation for a cultural revolution.

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