Columbia celebrates John William Blind Boone's 155th birthday

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COLUMBIA - The Blind Boone Home (10 N Fourth Street) will commemorate John William "Blind" Boone's 155th birthday on Saturday, May 17.

Born during the Civil War in Miami, Missouri, Boone overcame disability and racism and became a nationally known musician and composer.

Inspired by Negro spirituals and classical music, his contribution to American music came to be known as "ragtime."

Boone and his wife bought a home in Columbia, which is now the Blind Boone Home; it played a significant role in the growth of the African-American community in Columbia during the late 1800s. The home has now been preserved as a piece of history for the Columbia community to visit, learn and host events. 

To commemorate Boone, the Blind Boone Home will host a celebration of Boone's life and pay tribute to his musical accomplishments.

Everyone is invited to celebrate with food and enjoy insightful information about Boone and his life. A special musical performance by Off the Wall will be there for entertainment. Blind Boone Home secretary, Greg Olsen was pleased with the community support of honoring Boone.

"When I see the house full of people, and when we're playing Boone's music on the piano rolls, and people are standing around listening to the music and having discussions and just enjoying themselves, I often think how "Blind" Boone would've enjoyed that, you know, that people are still enjoying his house and it's a place where people can come together to hear his music and the music of other people as well," said Olsen. 

The event is free and open to the public. The celebration is from 5 PM to 8 PM.