Louis Armstrong, Louis Satchmo, Armstrong And His Life

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Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901. Like most jazz musicians from his era, he had his roots in New Orleans, Louisiana. Armstrong is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. He was born to 16 year old Mayann Albert and her boyfriend Willie Armstrong. Soon after his birth, Willie left Mayann only to return a few years later, have another child, Beatrice, before leaving once again. When his father left the first time, Louis was placed into the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong. Josephine struggled to keep food on the table by doing laundry for white families. Despite the struggle to survive, Josephine made sure Louis attended both church and school. After four years of living with his grandmother, 6 year old Armstrong returned to live with his mother, who at the time was living in a tougher neighborhood labeled ‘Storyville’ where she worked as a prostitute. By the age of 7, Armstrong was finding work wherever he could to support his family. At 11, Armstrong quit school in order to further support his family. He sold newspapers and vegetables and sang on the streets with a group of other boys to make whatever money he could. After saving enough money, Armstrong bought his first instrument, the coronet Singing with the boys is where he earned his nickname ‘Satchmo’. It was originally ‘Satchelmouth’, referring to his large mouth, but was later shorthanded to simply ‘Satchmo’. Singing with the group of boys brought Armstrong in contact with many local musicians. Probably the most notable was Bunk Johnson, who was regarded as the best trumpeter in the city at the time. Johnson taught Armstrong new techniques when playing and allowed him to sit in during performances. During the ... ... middle of paper ... ...out against racial discrimination during the incident in Little Rock, Arkansas where the Governor of Arkansas refused to desegregate the school. So radio stations even refused to play his songs. Thankfully, tensions defused when President Eisenhower took control of the situation by sending troops to enforce desegregation. While on tour in 1959 in Italy, Armstrong suffered a heart attack. He flew back to America after a week in a hospital. Ignoring warning from physicians, Armstrong returned to his busy and taxing schedule of live performances. Throughout the 1960s, Armstrong continued to perform, despite heart and kidney issues. In the Spring of 1971, he suffered another heart attack and passed away July 6 due to his inability to recover. More than 25,000 mourners visited him and his funeral was nationally televised. He was interred in Flushing Cemetery in Queens.

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