Friday, October 26, 2018

Flashback Friday

The Clarion-Ledger called Louis Armstrong, yes, that Louis Armstrong, a "colored trumpet tooter" after he dared to speak his mind about how blacks were treated in the South. 
Mr. Armstrong said what he really thought about segregation to a reporter while he was in Grand Forks, N.D.  Satchmo was considered by many to be the Ultimate Uncle Tom so his outburst caught more than a few people by surprise.  Some of the articles are posted below. 





The Clarion-Ledger naturally did not report Mr. Armstrong's remarks.  However, one of it's punk writers took a few shots at the Jazz legend a few days later.


Yup, crowds are cursing and spitting on little black girls but Mr. Armstrong is the one with the problem.  Got it.

The story behind the interview is a story in and of itself.  The Arkansas Times reported in 2011:

With Armstrong in town — performing, as it happened, at Grand Forks' own Central High School — Lubenow's editor, an old-timer named Russ Davies, sent him to the Dakota Hotel to see whether he could land an interview. Perhaps sensing trouble — Lubenow was, he now says, a ''rabble-rouser and a liberal'' — Davies laid out the ground rules: ''No politics,'' he ordered. That hardly seemed necessary, for Davies was a very conservative editor at a very Republican paper, and, with his famously sunny, unthreatening disposition, Armstrong rarely ventured into such things anyway. ''I don't get involved in politics,'' he once said. ''I just blow my horn.'' (It wasn't so simple, of course; during his long career Armstrong had broken down innumerable barriers, the latest of which was the ban on black guests at the Dakota Hotel.) But Lubenow had been following the Little Rock story; oddly enough, Federal Judge Ronald Davies (no relation to the editor), who had ordered that the desegregation plan there proceed, was from Grand Forks. And, like everyone else, Lubenow had seen the picture of Elizabeth.

Armstrong's road manager told Lubenow that he couldn't see Satchmo until after the concert. But that wouldn't work: it was past his deadline. So with the connivance of the bartender and bell captain, both of them drinking buddies, Lubenow sneaked into Armstrong's suite masquerading as a bellhop, delivering the trumpeter's room-service lobster dinner. He told Armstrong he'd be fired if he didn't come back with a story. The musician, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, couldn't let that happen. He agreed to talk. And talk he did.

Lubenow stuck initially to his editor's script, asking Armstrong to name his favorite musician. (Bing Crosby, Armstrong replied.) But soon Lubenow brought up Little Rock, and he could not believe Armstrong's angry response. ''It's getting almost so bad a colored man hasn't got any country,'' he said. Armstrong had been contemplating a goodwill tour of the Soviet Union for the State Department — ''they ain't so cold but what we couldn't bruise them with happy music,'' he'd explained — but now, he confessed to having second thoughts. ''The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell,'' he went on, offering further choice words about Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.

''The people over there ask me what's wrong with my country. What am I supposed to say?'' As he spoke, he got progressively worked up. Eisenhower, he charged, was ''two faced,'' and had ''no guts,'' while Faubus was a ''no-good motherfucker.'' (Writing for a family newspaper, Lubenow somehow turned that into ''uneducated plow boy.'') Armstrong bitterly recounted his experiences touring the Jim Crow South, like the times when whites, including some of the very folks who had just cheered him, rocked his tour bus menacingly when he and his musicians prepared to leave town. He broke out into the opening bar of ''The Star-Spangled Banner,'' inserting enough obscenities — ''Oh, say can you motherfucking see / By the motherfucking dawn's early light'' — to prompt the band's vocalist, Velma Middleton, to try to hush him up.

Lubenow, from the small farming community of Northwood, North Dakota, was shocked by what he heard, but he also knew he had a story; he skipped the concert and went back to the office, typing up what he had on yellow copy paper. ''The Ambassador of Jazz trumpeted a new tune today,'' he wrote, before laying out that novel song's jarring notes. The Herald printed his story the following morning (taking care to remove the word ''hell''), but, dubious that Armstrong would have said such things, the Associated Press editor in Minneapolis refused to put the story on the national news wire until Lubenow could prove he hadn't made it all up. So he returned to the Dakota, and, as Armstrong was shaving, the Herald photographer took their picture together. (The caption referred to ''Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong, who got all lathered up about segregation here Wednesday''; Lubenow himself was cropped out.) Lubenow then showed Armstrong what he had written. ''Don't take nothing out of that story,'' Armstrong declared. ''That's just what I said, and still say.'' He then wrote ''solid'' on the bottom of the yellow copy paper, and signed his name.

The story flashed across the country. Douglas Edwards and John Cameron Swayze reported it that night on the network evening news programs. Armstrong's road manager quickly claimed that Satchmo had been tricked, and that he regretted his statements. But Armstrong would have none of that. ''I said what somebody should have said a long time ago,'' he declared the following day in Montevideo, Minnesota, where he gave his next concert. He closed that show with ''The Star Spangled Banner''— the traditional version, that is, minus the obscenities.... Rest of article.

The newspaper fired Mr. Lubenow a week later for not limiting his questions to music-related topics.  

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The word "colored" is sanctioned/approved by the NAACP, so how can it be offensive?

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about the harassment supporters of Forest Hill is getting now.

The Realist said...

They SHOULD be getting harassment. I'm the absolute opposite of a police supporter but this was flat out murder that was celebrated and mocked by a social justice warrior who THOUGHT he'd get all his "brothas" in the crowd to agree with him and cheer him on, and found out he was dead ass wrong when Brookhaven stood up for their own.

Anonymous said...

Louis Armstrong was perhaps the greatest Jazz musician of all time. Just listen to some of his recordings. Sheer genius. He was also a man of courage and dignity and should have been treated as such. He was not. He had a right and a reason to question the treatment of African Americans by the US Government. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

5:27, can you show me where murder was celebrated? Thanks.

The Realist said...

Well 6:45, I'm sure the triumphant victory by the young doctors and nurses over the evil SWAT team added in special for the city of Brookhaven was condemnation not a celebration, wasn't it, Tom Head?

Anonymous said...

Whites still don't understand the no-win situation Black people were in when it came to the media. If you complained or just told the truth about your oppression you were called a communist or a trouble maker and persecuted or fired, if you said nothing to survive and keep your job whites said things are alright because you don't see the local blacks complaining (Must be outside agitators or communists). You end up with the situation we have now, Black people having to finally complain about the symbols of racism which they couldn't complain about years ago. Now they are called overly sensitive and too politically correct for their own good. No win again.

Anonymous said...

Just as important to note is WHEN and WHERE Robinson made his statement,
the 1950's and North Dakota. Colored men did not make such statements in New Orleans or the rest of the south if they wanted to live or work. Very, very dangerous stuff!

Anonymous said...

Louie was considered an Uncle Tom until he came out, folks don't understand how hard he had to work before he could speak out.He wasn't an Uncle Tom He waited until he could speak out.

Anonymous said...

The racist kluckers who owned the Ledger back then are still a recognizable NE Jackson elite family and close to all the other citizens counsel founders. You would recongnize the names. Most of the buildings at Jackson Prep bear the names of all of these inbreds.

They Beg To Be Offended.. said...

Is that the newspaper by the same name who nowadays crucify someone for using the word Negro? These white, snowflake socialists just never will be happy, now will they?

Anonymous said...

In high school we had a class called Mississippi History. It would be a great service if the Clarion ledger would compile a collection of their newspapers for the past 100 years so that kids could see for themselves what the environment was really like in this state, in real time. The course I was taught was real bullshit.

Anonymous said...

So good that all can speak out, I feel so enlightened. Ain’t MS so much better with all the progress and bright future. I feel so safe and secure.

Mom said...

at 12:54 AM
May I get you a hotpocket?

Anonymous said...

Check out the timeline for when the word 'colored' was used in this context. During that period and earlier, folks who now demand to be called African-American, preferred the word colored and that soon transitioned to negro, the word that appeared on all state and federal government forms, including the census forms.

So, why are we stewing over the use of a word that was, at the time, acceptable and preferred? There will come a time when people will be lambasted for using the term 'African-American'. Wait for it.

Anonymous said...

9:41 - I'm willing to bet you do not remember one damned thing about the course you claim to have attended on Mississippi History. If you do, please recite two things you claim were bull shit. Please begin.

Anonymous said...

@5:36

It is generally the things left out of those courses, and the white-washing of history that is the cow-manure that 9:41 was referencing. Those in control generally only show the parts of history that they want learned as opposed to the complete or real history.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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