Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong was born August 4th 1901 In a part of New Orleans named “Storyline,” another name for what most people would call a Red light district. Louis liked to tell people he was born the 4th of July 1900 but still used his correct birth date on legal documents. Louse’s Parents were both absent in his childhood, his father leaving their family when Louis was only two and his mother a prostitute was in and out of his life as a child.
Louis was raised mainly by his Grandmother or Uncle n New Orleans who would take care of Louis and his younger sister when their mother would leave for days or long periods of time. Growing up In a musical and very much alive part of the nation Its no surprise that Louis was always a very musical boy singing for money as a child on the streets of New Orleans. He spent much of his time in the nightlife as well working to help his family, but being influenced no doubt by the city which its self is where the fusion of African-American and European harmonies and form, began the Jazz/Swing revolution.
In 1913 after n innocent firing of a gun during a New Years Eve celebration, which was incidentally his mothers boyfriends gun and was filled with blanks. Louis was arrested for disturbing the peace and was then sent to New Orleans Colored Waif’s Home for Boys(PBS This however was a major turning point In his life, after dropping out of school before he now had the opportunity to learn and explore music more deeply. Professor Peter Davis took Louis under his wing and thus his cornet playing inspiration began, being largely influenced by cornet player Buddy Bolder, Kid ROR and Joe “King” Oliver (Athenians).
Louis began playing cornet for the school band due to these Influences. After being released from the detention school In 1915 Louis returned to his family In Storyline. He continued to play cornet and even married his first wife Daisy Parker. In 1922 Louis was invited by his mentor Joe King to join their band in Chicago, this is also the year they recorded ‘Dipterous Blues’. Dipterous was a nickname that Louis was given during his time at the Home for delinquents.
This piece of music shows a great deal about Louse’s style, enthusiasm and passion for music. Almost as if he were trying to keep It bottled up and yet he couldn’t. Another milestone In his early showcase of music Is Weatherboard’ with plants Earl Hines who much Like Louis was a soloist, which were becoming more predominant in the Jazz scene. Louse’s fame and music popularity began expanding even through the depression and an arrest for possession of marijuana (1931 ). Louis recorded his to be theme song When it’s Sleepiest Down South’ in that same year.
Many say that Louis was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century which history has proven to be true weather or not It effected by his contribution to music today. His views and beliefs seemed to only make him more widely accepted and despite his race and past he was invited on U. S. Sponsored tours to Africa and Europe. Even after suffering from a heart attach in 1959 he continued to perform and inspire other musicians. In 1964 Louis topped the pop charts over The Beetles with his song, “Hello Dolly’ (Sandmen). 3] After Louis had gained a position in which he was significantly influencing the way Jazz was played he also took on a role of changing the way society viewed and thought of African- Americans. However, Louis was never one for politics. For example in the New York Times article preceding his death it was written, “While he was in London, Mr.. Armstrong demonstrated memorably that he had little use for the niceties of diplomatic protocol. During a command performance for King George V, Mr..
Armstrong ignored the rule that performers are not supposed to refer to members of the Royal Family while playing before them and announced on the brink of a hot trumpet break, ‘This one’s for you, He became a major figure in the civil rights movement by having a motto that he would not play at a venue at which e could not stay Louis would play at these large fancy hotels which at the time were supposed to be for whites only, but basses he would refuse to play if he couldn’t stay there the hotels would be forced to make an exception.
His fame and reputation helped him break down the social stigmas of racism. A more extreme example of how Louis demonstrated his feelings about segregation was after the Little Rock Crisis. He cancelled a U. S. Government-sponsored tour to the Soviet Union saying, “the way they’re treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell (Twitchier).  This brought about even more criticism to the U. S. Government which at the time was the in the rise of the Civil Rights movement.
Louis also made comments about President Eisenhower, saying he had “no guts” and even going as far as to say, “It’s getting so bad,” and, “a colored man hasn’t got any country’ (History. Com). By having a style of music that was so popular with all classes of society Louis was able to bring many diverse groups of people together. Having everyone with the same love for his music helped show the people all over the country that we are not so different from one another and started to turn the ears towards equality.
If someone wanted Louis to play at their venue they would be sure to treat him Just like anybody else they hired, including a room if it happened to be a hotel. Although there is much evidence for Armstrong’s advocacy in the Civil Rights movement there is also solid amounts of criticism that Louis did not do enough in his time. Louis did appear at times in blackjack shows and productions which upset many critics and other important figures in the black power movement. Many at the time referred to Louis as an “Uncle Tom” due to the fact that he mainly laded for largely white audiences (Sandmen).
Many African Americans even began to boycott his shows. Gang Longer explains in her article about Louis Armstrong and the term “Uncle Tom”, “In the Deep South, during the first half of the last century, all places of entertainment were strictly segregated. Sunday nights were for black audiences and Monday nights were for whites. Martin Napoleon, a white drummer with Armstrong’s band, was shocked to discover that the attendance for the ‘Black Nights’ was only a fraction the size of the ‘White Nights” (Longer). Lie in 1942 and until his death.
Louis died off heart attack in 1971 at the age of 71 having Just celebrated his birthday on the previous Sunday. He had suffered from many ailments throughout his career in the ass’s and ass’s but persisted to keep touring. He had Just received 10 weeks of treatment from Beth Israel Medical Center and was advised not to fly home after being discharged but paid no head to the doctors warnings and flew home anyway. His death was mourned by many prominent figures of society. Although Louis and the U. S. Government did not always agree with one another, but after his death The State Department on behalf of
Washington said, “His memory will be enshrined in the archives of effective international communications. The Department of State, for which he traveled on tours to almost every corner of the globe, mourns the passing of this great American” (Krebs). Louis greatly influenced not only the musical world of Jazz but the world as a whole. He was an amazing musician as well as a prominent public figure who stood up for what he believed in and conveyed it to us through his musical genius. He lived his life through Jazz which is shown by how much his influence changed the way the music would be played to this day.