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Regrann from @sallieedavis - This week in African American History:
Birthday: May 25, 1849 – Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (1849-1908) was born into slavery in Harris County, Georgia. #Autistic and blind from birth, he showed an early propensity for music and learned to play the piano. By age five he’d composed his first song, The Rain Storm, after a big storm on his owner’s plantation. His owner, recognizing his talent, allowed him to live in a room off of the main house with a piano and Tom reportedly played for twelve hours daily. At the age of 8, a concert promoter rented out the young boy to tour the country preforming sometimes 4 times a day and earning, for his owner, up to $100,000 a year. His shows were marketed as a “Barnum-style freak” show and he was often compared to a preforming animal. Tom continued to tour throughout his life in the custody of his owner, even after the Civil War. He was reported to know over 7,000 songs many of which he’d heard only once. Tom’s story has been the subject of several films and books. The people of Columbus Georgia raised a commemorative headstone for Tom in 1976.
#thisweek #africanamerican #africanamericanhistory #georgia #georgiahistory #columbusga #harriscountyga #piano #ushistory #civilwar