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Louis Armstrong’s First Influence: Jewish Peddlers

Says Terry Teachout in ‘Commentary’

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Armstrong in concert in Paris, 1965(AFP/Getty Images)

How did Louis Armstrong surmount pervasive racism to become the greatest jazz musician of the 20th century? Critic Terry Teachout, author of an upcoming biography of Satchmo, writes in the new issue of Commentary that one of the the musical prodigy’s first inspirations was a Jewish peddler family he worked for as a boy in New Orleans. In a recollection about his relationship with the Karnofskys, “Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family,” Satchmo told how at 7 years old, he recognized “the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handling the poor Jewish family that I worked for. They were always warm and kind to me, which was very noticeable to me, he fondly recalled, just a kid who could use a little word of kindness.”

The experience was so transformative that Armstrong became a lifelong philo-Semite who wore a Star of David around his neck, given to him by his Jewish manager. But Armstrong’s relationship with the Karnovksys extended beyond personal affection. Teachout writes that Armstrong greatly admired how Jews overcame prejudice by banding together, seeking to better their lot through work. He was dismayed, by contrast, Teachout argues, with black reactions to racism, writing in his memoirs that “the Negroes always wanted pity, [doing] that in place of going to work.” Armstrong developed his open-mindedness and “gospel of self-help,” Teachout says, from the Jews.

Satchmo and the Jews [Commentary]
Related: A Fine Romance

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MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH says:

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE BENEFICENT – THE MERCIFUL:SAY:HE,ALLAH IS ONE.ALLAH IS HE ON ALL DEPEND.HE BEGETS NOT,NOR IS HE BEGOTTEN.AND NONE IS LIKE HIM.[QUR'AN:112]-LOUIS AMRMSTRONG’S RELATIONSHIP WITH EUROPEAN JEWS WAS STILL APPLICABLE FOR A LOT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN IN AMERICA.MY FIRST JOB’S AS A LITTLE BOY IN LOS ANGELES WAS WITH JEWS.THIS WAS 1960-61. SAM AND HIS SON MARSHALL AT SAM’S MARKET AND ACROSS THE STREET WITH JACK AT THE LIQUOR STORE.WHEN I BECAME A MUSLIM MOST PEOPLE IN LOS ANGELES AND IN THE JAILS AND PRISONS OF CALIFORNIA ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE NATION OF ISLAM AND THERE WAS A VERY NICE JEWISH COUPLE WHO HAD THE STORE ON CRENSHAW AND SANTA BARBARA NOW MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD.AND THEY HAD NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINES FOR SALE AND THEY WERE ONE OF MY BEST TOOLS TO PROPAGATE ISLAM BECAUSE THE MAGAZINES HAD PEOPLE WHO WERE MUSLIMS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND I WOULD CUT OUT THE ARTICLES AND MAKE MY OWN POSTERS AND THAT WOULD CAPTURE PEOPLE EVERYTIME TO SEE THAT ISLAM EMBRACED PEOPLE OF ALL RACES.SEEING IS BELIEVING WAS A REALITY WITH THOSE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINES FROM THOSE TWO ELDERLY JEWS WHOSE NAME I FORGET BUT THAT HAS TO THIS DAY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE TOOLS FOR ME IN COMPLIMENTING MY PRESENTATIONS ON ISLAM AND WORLD AFFAIRS.MAY ALLAH BLESS THEM WITH PARADISE.TAIF’TUL’ISLAM-P.O.BOX 338-COMPTON,CA.90223

Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

great blog! keep up the great work!

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

jimbojamesiv says:

Very sad that he couldn’t be more sympathetic to his ‘own’ People.

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Louis Armstrong’s First Influence: Jewish Peddlers

Says Terry Teachout in ‘Commentary’

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