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America’s First Black Music Star: “Blind Tom

Thomas Wiggins has been recognized as America’s first Black music star by Smithsonian Magazine. Known simply as “Blind Tom” during his lifetime, Wiggins achieved widespread fame as a skilled instrumentalist, paving the way for others and performing in the U.S. and abroad. His performances received extensive media attention and generated large revenues, although he did not benefit. A former slave, Wiggins remained subject to his former enslaver, who became his legal guardian post-abolition and reaped the profits. Hear a recording of Wiggins’ “Sewing Song