What money couldn’t buy Louis Armstrong

“The [road] manager and I were the only two white guys in the organization, and here’s Louis with five or 10 grand in his pocket, his wife with a $20,000 mink coat, and [in the 1950s] they both had to sleep in a gymnasium in North Carolina because they couldn’t find any accommodations. That was a killer. It takes the heart out of a man.

“I used to ask Joe Glaser [Armstrong’s manager] why he booked us down South. He never answered, but I knew the answer: He wanted the money, and Louis Armstrong never complained.”

–Drummer Barrett Deems of the All Stars band, as quoted in “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong” by Terry Teachout (2009)

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