Re: was Louis Armstrong black?
- You wouldn't chuckle. I was recently talking to a woman who has been a
fixture at every jazz session you could mention for more years than you would care
to mention. When I told her I like Ma Rainey, the name drew a complete
blank. She'd never heard of her.
Fred McCormick (I think)
In a message dated 15/06/2005 15:39:45 GMT Standard Time,
If, like me, you enjoy stories with Hitchcockian ironic endings,
you'll appreciate this one (although you may be shocked as well).
I've been teaching for about 25 years at a well regarded college with
generally very bright students. Yesterday, I met with a group of
incoming freshmen who were registering for fall classes. As an ice
breaker, I always ask new students what kind of music they like.
Invariably, several will say "oldies," which usually means groups no
more archaic than the Beatles. I take a perverse delight in noting
that I too am an "oldies" fan and then watching their faces go blank
as I mention some of the groups that members of this site know well.
Anyway, I asked one student if he knew who Louis Armstrong was. "Of
course," the student replied, as if I had asked him nothing more
challenging than his own name, "he was the first man to walk on the
moon." It gets worse -- the student was black.
I told this shocker at the family dinner table last night,
emphasizing the ironic fact that an African-American student of all
people confused Louis Armstrong with Neil Armstrong. One of the
dinner guests was my son's girl friend (like him, a bright college
student) who, missing the point of my emphasis, inquired, "was Louis
Armstrong black?" I swear I saw Hitchcock standing in the corner, a
wry smile on his face.
Gerard J. Fitzpatrick
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