Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong The world’s most famous jazz musician lived in modest Corona, Queens. Louis Armstrong was happy to get away from the fame and fans to return to his wife Lucille and his home. Upon returning, he might go outside and play a few notes on his famous coronet. This was a signal to the neighborhood kids that “Pops” was home. They would flock to his house and be taken for ice cream or enjoy a chat on the stoop. The Armstrongs were wealthy enough to live anywhere, but this was where they were happiest. Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in the poorest section of New Orleans. He began to play the coronet at a young age. His passion for music and his talent combined to make him one of the greatest musicians of the age. He not only changed the music the entire world listened to, he also appeared in over 30 movies and wrote two wonderful autobiographies. And he was not shy about speaking out for civil rights. “I won’t play where I can’t stay,” he said. His wife Lucille also broke barriers. She was the first dark-skinned African American to dance professionally at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem. Louis Armstrong died in 1971, and his wife died 12 years later. In her will, Lucille left the house to the City of New York to be made into a museum. A tour of the house today is like visiting the couple. You will even hear their voices as you enter the dining room or the den, because Louis recorded some of their conversations. On summer evenings the museum offers live concerts in the garden, just as the Armstrongs did. © Curriculum Concepts International • Passage provided under license from PassageBank.com. Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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