The story of Blind Tom Wiggins is a complex one. He was born feeble and blind in 1849, but became a plantation favorite at the age of four when his owners discovered he could play anything he heard someone else playing on the piano -- and all without any lessons!
By the age of five, Tom listened to a thunderstorm and then created a haunting tune he called Rain Storm. His music teachers were fascinated.
By age eight, Tom was hired out to a concert promoter and was doing four shows a day. In one instance, Tom's performance earned his owner $15,000 and his promoter $50,000. This was around 1857, so this was a lot of money indeed. But since Tom was a slave at the time, neither he nor his mother (who had been tricked into signing him away) were paid a single dollar.
There are many books, articles and even documentaries out there that tell the story of Blind Tom, so The Black History Channel won't attempt such a feat within this limited space. Instead, we offer here a few links to discover more about the subject:
Blind Tom: Slave Pianist and Autistic Savant - http://www.blindtom.org/
Georgia Encyclopedia: Blind Tom Wiggins - http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/thomas-blind-tom-wiggins-1849-1908
Read and enjoy!
Originally posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHPd6RJKQK0#t=12