February is Black History Month! Thomas Wiggins, aka Blind Tom, was born into slavery. Despite the inability to communicate his own thoughts, he had a natural affinity for sound and could repeat conversations up to 10 minutes long. Wiggins started playing the piano 4 years old, playing what the plantation owner’s daughter would play. It wasn’t long before he became a piano prodigy, repeating any composition he heard no matter the difficulty. At the age of 6, he was performing sold out shows in Georgia. Wiggins toured the South throughout his teen years and was eventually invited to the White House by President James Buchanan. He was the first African American musician to officially perform in the White House. Wiggins later toured the rest of the US and Europe, dying from a stroke at 60 years old.
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