Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. General James Bethune of Columbus, Ga., bought an enslaved couple in 1850, along with their infant son, Tom, whom this quiz is about. What disability did the son have? It never changed during his life.
2. As a toddler, Tom in his slave cabin copied the sounds he heard and banged pots and pans to make more sounds, but what life-threatening activity caused trouble and wasn't acceptable?
3. What did Blind Tom's mother do to keep him and his siblings safe when he was still a toddler, while she tended to her own work? He was inexplicably injuring them, and she was boxed in, desperate for a solution.
4. What happened when Gen. Bethune bought a piano for his daughters and blind Tom, still just a few years old, heard them play, from his box in the slave quarters? Everyone realized he loved music now.
5. Gen. Bethune heard one of his daughters practicing the piano, or so he thought. He came to listen, and was shocked and stunned. What did he see, although in retrospect when he became aware of Tom's abilities, he might have expected such an apparent miracle?
6. When Gen. Bethune, Blind Tom's owner, discovered that Tom had amazing piano-playing skills, what did he do for the slave boy of four or five, certainly far more than he was obligated to do?
7. At eight years old, what was Blind Tom doing that most pianists would be proud to do at four times that age or more, and incidentally, making his owner rich?
8. In 1860, Blind Tom's manager took him to Washington, where he performed for a small group at the fancy Willard Hotel, which was prestigious enough. Who was in the group and why did he or she have a direct connection to the White House?
9. Tom performed his whole life. At age 55, he suffered a stroke and partial paralysis. He ended his public performances and now a free man, lived with the widow of his antebellum owner, Eliza Stutzbach Bethune, in New Jersey. Perhaps a final answer to the question of whether he had been forced to play for money, what did the neighbors report they could hear through the walls at all hours?
10. Tom dictated sheet music from his earliest days, and though he seemed to prefer performing to composing, what is one of his more famous compositions? It allowed him to mimic the noise of muskets, cannons, trains, men cheering, and the whole sound landscape he loved to reproduce, to tell a story.
Source: Author littlepup
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