2. The Banjo Was Used To Keep Slaves From Dying
The banjo is the preferred instrument of Appalachia, Muppet frogs, and Steve Martin. However, it has a backstory even darker than Deliverance.
In the 1600s, slave ships had a problem. Their slaves would become sickly and die. This was not a problem because their fellow humans were suffering; the slave owners were just losing profits.
So to keep their slaves healthy, the owners let their slaves dance. Logically, the slaves weren’t really in the mood to do this. But slave captains thought that traditional African instruments might convince them to dance.
They chose stringed instruments. That is how the banjo was brought to the United States. It would have remained an obscure instrument in American culture if not for the minstrel show.
When minstrel shows were making fun of slaves, they included the image of a lazy slave playing the banjo. The instrument then became popular among the white theatergoers.