The Columbus Museum and Chattahoochee Valley Libraries Rediscover “Blind Tom”

Oct 5, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 2, 2015
 
Media Contact:
Mercedes Parham
Marketing and Media Manager
The Columbus Museum
706.748.2562, ext. 540
mparham@columbusmuseum.com
 


 
 
The Columbus Museum and Chattahoochee Valley Libraries
Rediscover “Blind Tom”


 
Columbus, GA – The Columbus Museum and Chattahoochee Valley Libraries will partner to present a program of the Rothschild Speaker Series. Rediscovering Blind Tom: Georgia’s Forgotten Musical Genius will be held Tuesday October 6; 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the main branch of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.  The lecture will feature award-winning author Jeffrey Renard Allen. This program is free and open to the public.
 
During this lecture, Allen will explore topics from his novel Song of the Shank. At the heart of this novel is Thomas “Blind Tom” Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius. Wiggins begin playing at age four and toured across America and Europe. He became the first African-American musician to perform at the White House and composed more than 1,000 pieces of original music. The featured novel ranges from Tom’s boyhood as a Columbus, Georgia native to the heights of his performing career as Allen blends history and fantastical invention. An extensive archive of artifacts related to Wiggins is highlighted in the Museum’s Once Collected, Always Cherished: Highlights from the George Greene and J. Kyle Spencer Collections exhibition, on view at The Columbus Museum through January 10, 2016.
 
Allen, an award-winning American author, speaker, and lecturer was born in Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently a faculty member in the writing program at the New School.
 
Allen is the author of two collections of poetry and two works of fiction. He received The Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction, the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Whiting Writer's Award, The Chicago Public Library's Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction from the African American Literature and Culture Association, the 2003 Charles Angoff award for fiction from The Literary Review, and special citations from the Society for Midlands Authors and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. He has been a fellow at The Dorothy L. and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, a John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a Walter E. Dakins Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.
 
The Once Collected, Always Cherished exhibition is generously underwritten by Synovus and Columbus Bank and Trust Company.
 
The Columbus Museum is the second largest general museum in Georgia and is unique for its dual concentration on American art and regional history. While carrying forth its mission to bring American art and history to life for the communities of the Chattahoochee Valley, the Museum serves as a hub of community learning and enjoyment. Through an educational approach, the Museum strives to ignite creativity, inspire critical thinking, and spark conversation.


 
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