Black Disabled Leaders Series

Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins was an African American musician and composer. He became one of the most famous American entertainers of the nineteenth century.



Tom Wiggins sitting down in a chair, leaning on the desk.

After being born, it was discovered he was blind (later it was discovered he also was autistic). His masters felt he had no economic value and wanted him dead. Thankfully for the vigilance of his mother, Tom survived.


Tom and his family were sold to their new masters which is where Tom had access to a piano. After many picking out tones, memorization, and practice, Tom's musical journey began around the age of six.


Throughout his years, he would go on to perform at concerts throughout the USA and even in Europe. Tom even became the first African American musician to perform at the White House for President James Buchanan. His gifts and talent in music have inspired musicians, including Elton John, who composed a song in his honor.


Tom inspires many disabled people, especially black disabled people to understand that being disabled does not mean you are less valuable or worthy. Surely doesn't stop your gifts and talents, only enhances them.



Tom Wiggins playing the piano. His head is tilt back like he is enjoying what he's playing.

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