Blog Post

"Louis Armstrong and the Cold War: The Real Ambassador" by Damele Elliott Collier

NOTE: I am posting this on behalf of Damele Elliott Collier per her email request. All content of this post beyond this disclaimer is the intellectual property of Damele Elliott Collier and thus, not my own. 


Using the platform of Prezi, I have compiled a series of videos that portray the time that Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong traveled the world as a jazz ambassador during the Cold War. Despite segregation, and the racial tension in the country at that time, the State Department sent their best jazz musicians to tour the world in an attempt to reshape the narrative surrounding racism in America. Armstrong was one of the most polarizing figures that participated as an unofficial ambassador for the United States. As his popularity spread abroad, in some ways it waned at home. Young jazz musicians began to see themselves as artists, and not just entertainers. In their eyes, Armstrong was becoming an out of date performer. While he garnered praise from royalty oversees, fellow African Americans often criticized his antics on stage, dubbing him an “Uncle Tom”. Despite his critics, Armstrong is remembered as one of the most talented and influential musicians of his era.

See the link to prezi titled "Louis Armstrong and the Cold War: The Real Ambassador" by Damele Elliott Collier 





1 comment

Damele--I especially love the way your project is multimodal.  It makes the music--jazz--central to thinking about Armstrong's role in U.S. campaigns against communism.  I wish there was some acknowledgemnt, or accounting of the  state's coersion in Armstrong's role since according to Penny Von Eschen book on this same subject, his travels on behalf of the U.S. were ambigious at best.  That said, your Prezi looks great--makes me want to try it for a future presentation.