Black, Blind and Brilliant: 10 Musicians Who Overcame the Odds

Black, Blind and Brilliant: 10 Musicians Who Overcame the Odds

They include names like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Arizona Dranes, Art Tatum, and Marcus Roberts, Lawrence W. Reed writes for the Foundation for Economic Education.

They persevered against both their disability and racial prejudice. Their brilliance helped them overcome.

Among them:

  • The Blind Boys of Alabama (1939-present), a gospel group founded in 1939 that featured many different black musicians over the years. It numbered five or six at a time and since its founding more than 80 years ago, almost all have been blind or partially so. In a 2011 interview, the group’s Ricky McKinnie said, “Our disability doesn’t have to be a handicap. It’s not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you do. And what we do is sing good gospel music.”

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