[Dixielandjazz] Lil Armstrong (remark about passport listing divorce of Lil)

Artwoo@aol.com Artwoo@aol.com
Sat, 28 Sep 2002 03:41:35 EDT

Hi John:

This is just speculation, but perhaps this illogical requirement was a 
product of the "Jim Crow" attitude in the U.S. that lasted until the mid 
1960's. A further stretch could be a holdover from the "Runaway Slave" laws 
that were prevalent in both the North and South. These laws were repealed in 
the North by Congress in 1864 (note the Civil War started in 1861) but 
obviously remained in the South until General Lee surrendered.

Slaves and their progeny were considered property; thus a former spouse might 
be part of the chain of ownership. Often laws and procedures prevail because 
their origin is forgotten and they continue as law or accepted practice 
through successive generations. 

I am told that the Northern states were not as progressive as was advertised. 
Some speculate that the War between the States was more about competitive 
trade issues and less about human rights. Hatred towards the Blacks has 
hardly been erased...even today.

In addition to my work as a musician, I am also a Life Insurance agent. The 
company I work for (New York Life) did not insure Negroes until the 1950's. I 
can certainly understand why many Blacks still harbor resentment about the 
treatment they received in the "Land of the free."

What is remarkable about Louis Armstrong is how he could be such a gracious 
entertainer in spite of the treatment he received while touring the U.S. I 
recall reading how he and his band would travel all night because the town 
where he played would provide a place for him to perform, but not allow him 
to sleep there...sounds like the Baby Jesus being refused a place to sleep.

I saw Louis Armstrong perform in the middle 60's when I was a teenager. He 
had a powerful stage presence. I can easily remember that night and the joy 
he brought to the audience. Seeing and hearing Louis was one of the 
highlights of my life.

Musical content "I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free."

Art Wood