Black Disabled Art History 101

root - Posted on 14 July 2004

by Leroy F. Moore Jr.

Sit down & listen

cause there will be a test at the end

Displaying & speaking

our history & culture

through music & art

From slavery to homeland security

Black disabled artists

roots grow deep

however this garden his starving for recognition

The most famous classical pianist

in the mid to late 19th century

was a Black Blind Autistic slave

Tom Wiggins aka Blind Tom was his slave name

his master used him to make money

and left him poor and broken

Horace Pippin, the first Black Disabled self-taught

lost his arm in WW1

using his left arm

to prop up his right forearm

crafted his first masterpiece depicting horrors of war

Oh, the price he paid for being Black, Poor,

Self-taught & Disabled

Blues is the Black Anthem

attract blind singers & musicians

to make a living on the streets

some made it into recording studios

Blind Willie McTell born in 1898

played on the streets of Atlanta

Blind Willie Johnson born around 1902

a street evangelist

stepmother threw lye

in young Johnson’s eyes

causing blindness

Johnson became the first

gospel guitarist too record

he died of pneumonia

hospital refused admittance

due to his blindness

Blind Blake & Blind Boone’s

Birthdates are not known

Blind John William Boone formed

his own concert company

traveling all over the country

more than 8,000 concerts

in the USA Canada, Europe & Mexico

The most popular Male Blues

recording artists of the twenties

was Blind Lemon Jefferson

he was also a street performer

Black deaf schools

in the fifties produced

independent businesses like barber shops

down south and social clubs in the East

Writers like Mary Herring Wright, Linwood

Smith & Ernest Hairston

voice the experiences of our Black Deaf Brothers &

Listen to the Melody Heartbeat of a Black Deaf

Jades fingers reads I’m a proud Black Deaf Woman

Black sign language was developed cause societal

attitudes & educational policy helped create a dual
system and what grew?

A strong Black Deaf identity

integration killed Black Sign & almost

erased Black Deaf Culture

Let’ s travel to Jamaica

Where in the fifties Polio infected the island

Skelly, Wise & Apple are Israel Vibration

they met each other

at Mona Rehabilitation Center

got kicked out cause their religious beliefs in Rasta

homeless, poor & disabled

began to sing on the streets

now they are the Fathers of Reggae

Back to Africa

tribal dancing

to the drumming, guitar strumming and singing

of Amadou & Mariam

a Blind married couple

blending Rock, Pop, Jazz & Hip Hop

with an international flavor

from Cuba to Asia & India to America

Coming home to the Bay Area

to swing from Charles Curtis Blackwell & Avotcha’s

jazz Poe-tree & celebrate

Disabled African American Visual Artists

at Harambee’s annual art show called KUUMBA

So get out your number two pencils for your final

on Black Disabled Art History

By Leroy F. Moore Jr.


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