Just read this in Laurent Dubois' book, "The Banjo, America's African Instrument".
Frank Converse, who published two influential banjo tutors in 1865, stated;
"The first banjo I ever heard was in the hands of a colored man. I cannot say I learned anything from his execution, which, though amusing, was limited to the thumb and first finger, pulling or 'picking' the strings with both."
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