Sunday, June 29, 2008

What a wonderful world

Posted By on Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 8:08 AM

NY Times reports on a photo exhibit of a harmonious piece of American statesmanship of the 1950s. Instead of war, the Eisenhower adminisration waged music, sending jazz bands around the globe to spruce up the country's image. There was a spot of trouble:

[Louis] Armstrong canceled a 1957 trip to Moscow after President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to send federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce school-integration laws. “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell,” he said. “It’s getting so bad, a colored man hasn’t got any country.”

Administration officials feared that this broadside, especially from someone so genial as “Ambassador Satchmo,” would trigger a diplomatic disaster. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Attorney General Herbert Brownell that the situation in Arkansas was “ruining our foreign policy.” Two weeks later, facing pressure from many quarters, Eisenhower sent the National Guard to Arkansas. Armstrong praised the move and agreed to go on a concert tour of South America.

 

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