Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Soon after his birth, his father, William Armstrong, left. With his father leaving, Louis’ mother, Maryann, decided it would be best if he went to go live with his grandmother, Josephine. While Armstrong was living with his grandmother, “Maryann gave birth to a daughter, the result of a temporary reconciliation with William” (Brown, Page 15). Louis’ sister, Beatrice, was two years younger than him.
Louis lived with his grandmother until it was time for him to start school, at the age of five. Armstrong attended Fisk School, though he was “absent as many days as he was in class” (Brown, Page 16). With his father gone and his mother “disappearing for days at a time” (Brown, Page 16), Louis was left to take care of his sister and himself. He was able to get a job thanks to the Karnofsky family, a Jewish family that emigrated from Russia. His job consisted of “collecting junk and delivering coal” (Biography.com). The Karnofsky family took Louis under their wing, influencing him to sing and letting him stay for dinner after work. Armstrong worked for them until the year 1912.
In 1912, on New Year’s Eve, Louis was arrested for shooting his “step-father’s” gun in the air. He spent one night in jail, and was then transferred to live a...
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...ed us to lose this musician. Louis was just under a month away from celebrating, what would be, his 70th birthday.
Although we have lost Louis Armstrong, his legacy still lives on. Armstrong influenced “younger African-American jazz musicians like Wynton Marsalis, John Faddis and Nicholas Payton” (Biography.com). “There are also significant traces of Armstrong’s … approach in the mature singing style of Bing Crosby” (Shadwick, page 159). During Louis’ life, he “recorded almost 1500 tracks in studios or at live concerts, and at least and equal number of tracks on air checks, film soundtracks, and television performances” (Oxford). Whether you listen to his music, read his autobiography, “Swing That Music,” or view one of the movies he appeared in, Louis Armstrong can be a part of your life too. His life and career has and will continue to touch the lives of people.
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