20 Feb
Posted by Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe

On February 19, 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the gravesite of Thomas "Blind Tom" Greene Wiggins (May 25, 1849-June 14, 1908) at the Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. As an African American autistic savant, piano prodigy, and music composer born and sold into slavery in Columbus, Georgia, Blind Tom began touring the world playing the piano and interpreting various songs to audiences at the age of nine.

My visit to the Evergreen Cemetery centered upon my goal of knowing more about this remarkable man known as Blind Tom who was born in my hometown of Columbus, Georgia. It was a temperature of 4 degrees on the day of my journey to the cemetery and I was determined to capture the essence of Blind Tom's spirit and what he represented. My wife, Alexis Southerland Anekwe, a special education teacher and minister, and Ken Bogan, a pastor and vocalist, battled the brisk cold weather in order to see the gravesite of Blind Tom. After we went to the main office at the cemetery in order to receive directions to Blind Tom's burial location, we made our way to the Pleasant Hills section where he is buried. At first under several feet of snow, I tried to located plot number nine where Blind Tom is buried, but I was unsuccessful. It was as if I was going in circles trying to find his tomb while stepping in mountainous amount of snow. In my mind, I was hoping that his headstone wasn't covered in snow, somehow missing it while trying to discover its location.

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