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There were many real blind, black bluesman, scraping a living in the Deep South a hundred years ago. From Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson on opposite street corners in Dallas to Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller in Georgia and the Carolinas, the early 20th century saw blind bluesmen playing everything from the lewd, raw blues of the juke joint to the God-fearing spirituals beloved of the new wave of Southern churches and with a musical legacy that's lasted through the decades.
How did this group of blind musicians, faced with all the disadvantages of race, segregation, disability and poverty, manage to achieve celebrity in their own day and leave such a lasting mark on the history of American music?
Gary O'Donoghue, who is blind himself, explores the elements of race and culture that made this phenomenon possible.
Presenter, Gary O'Donoghue
Editor, Andrew Smith
Blind Willie's Shades written by Doug Ashdown played by Tommy Emanuel
Gary O'Donoghue asks why so many early blues musicians in America's Deep South were blind.
Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.