Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Blind, Autistic Slave Who Helped Form Modern Music

Blind Tom Wiggins was one of the most remarkable individuals in American history. Not only was he born blind and a slave, but he was also very probably autistic. Yet, he became a true pioneer of modern music. Here John Davis plays one of Blind Tom's compositions, the Cyclone Gallop:

John Davis goes in search of Blind Tom’s grave:

The fascinating story of Blind Tom and his mindboggling talents can be found here.

A musical heir of Blind Tom was Missouri’s own John William “Blind” Boone. His story was perhaps less tragic than Tom’s, but still remarkable. Blind Boone, whose mother was a runaway slave, could have become a wealthy man through his music but he appears to have given most of his income away. Here John Davis plays Blind Boone’s Southern Rag Medley No. 2:

You can read more about Blind Boone here.

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