Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Louis Armstrong speaks his mind

In September 1957 Louis Armstrong broke his long silence on the race issue in an interview to a young reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. He was 56. It came as a shock to most Americans who were used to the trumpeter’s ingratiating smile and comic manner, but he was angry, and had been angry for a long time. The interview came two weeks after black schoolchildren were barred from schools in Little Rock by National Guardsmen. Almost a century since Emancipation, Armstrong was the first black man to stay in Grand Forks’ finest hotel. Louis Armstrong appears five times in A Book of Ages.

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