Latest News

Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Book Club: February 2018

Next Book Club Meeting:

book jacket: Blind TomWednesday, February 7, 2018, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at both our Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Offices.
A light lunch will be provided, please contact us to let us know you’re coming by contacting  Leatrice (269) 345-1516 x118

THE BOOK: The Ballad of Blind Tom

(By: Deirdre O’Connell)

The true story of a black musical savant in the era of slavery. Born into slavery in Georgia, Tom Wiggins died an international celebrity in New York in 1908. His life was one of the most interesting and moving episodes in American history. Born blind and autistic, Tom could not perform work demanded of other slaves, yet his natural musical talents were recognized at an early age. Eager to reap the financial rewards of performing, his owner installed Tom in the big house and nurtured his musical gifts. By the age of six, Tom was performing to sell-out audiences throughout Georgia.

Eventually freed from slavery, “Blind Tom” as he was called, toured the world playing for celebrities and dazzling audiences everywhere. One part genius and one part novelty act, Blind Tom embodied contradictions—a star and a freak, freed from slavery but still the property of his white guardian. His life offers a window into the culture of celebrity and racism at the turn of the twentieth century.

Download Flyer

This book is available in print, Kindle, National Library for the Blind, Michigan Braille & Talking Books Library and at local libraries. A print version is available for short term borrowing in our offices.