Inside The Troubled Lives Of America’s Blind Bluesmen

Given the time and place from which they hailed, it’s not too surprising that many of the best blues musicians were blind. As it happens, blindness was just the beginning of their problems.

Blues Blind

YouTube/ATI Composite

Racism, hunger, oppression, random bouts of syphilis — the life of a typical 1920s blues guitarist was not exactly a barrel of laughs. So just imagine how much worse it was being blind. Back then, a great many of them were: Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson…in fact, just scroll down the Blues Hall of Fame list and every third musician seems to be preceded with the word “blind.”

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The 5 Most Infamous American Spies

Although the lives of most of America’s greatest spies are always kept secret, it’s the lives of the notorious double agents that capture the public’s attention.

Julius Ethel Rosenberg

AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesJulius and Ethel Rosenberg are seated in a police van in 1953 in New York shortly before their execution for espionage.

It’s no secret that the United States has had its fair share of duplicitous spies. Today, movies portraying double agents and TV shows like The Americans pay homage to Cold War fears and politics that now seem so far away. While time has placed a definite, physical distance between today and that era, the effects of some of the most infamous, traitorous American spies are not as distant as they may seem. In many cases, the repercussions can still be felt to this day.

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What Happened When A White Man “Became” Black In Mid-20th Century America

In an attempt to understand a non-white life in America, John Griffin dyed his skin “black” and set off to the South. His experience, recounted in
Black Like Me was, as you might expect, painful.

John Griffin

YouTubeJohn Griffin as a “black” man.

In November 1959, John Griffin set out on one of the most challenging experiences of his life. Previously, the 39-year-old had served in the U.S. military, where shrapnel caused him to go temporarily blind. But this year, Griffin would do something even more trying: He would live for six weeks as a black man in the American South.

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