91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Detroiter's family heirloom showcased in national African-American museum

Courtesy of Shirley Burke

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens this weekend in Washington. One of the items on display is a violin that, until now, was in Michigan with Shirley Burke.

Burke donated the violin to the new museum after inheriting it from family members. She said the 150-year-old violin originally belonged to Elisha Burke, her great-grandfather’s slave holder in Arkansas. Jesse Burke, her great-grandfather, began playing the instrument while a slave and continued playing it later, when free.  

After owning the violin for 35 years, Shirley Burke said she was ready to pass it on.

“It was time to make it visible for other people to see and enjoy,” she said.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)


Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.