Tag Archives: Blind Tom Wiggins

Blind Tom Wiggins: Black Neurodivergent Excellence

Thomas ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1848, on a slave plantation owned by Wiley Jones. Though Tom was originally designated to be sold off or left for dead for his blindness and presumed uselessness on a slave plantation, Tom’s mother fought to keep him with the rest of his family by arranging to have herself, her husband, Tom, and her two other children sold as a group to a different master, General James Bethune. Though the diagnosis did not exist in the nineteenth century, current historians believe that Wiggins was an autistic savant. Savant syndrome is a kind of neurodivergence in which people experience major differences between their abilities and disabilities. For example, someone can be a brilliant violinist and be unable to read, write or do mathematics. Tom showed these traits. While Wiggins’s ability to play and compose music was extraordinary, he was mostly non-speaking and … Continue Reading ››