Annals of the uppity: Satchmo, Faubus, Kaepernick and 60 years of 'progress' | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Annals of the uppity: Satchmo, Faubus, Kaepernick and 60 years of 'progress'

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 9:46 AM

click to enlarge A WONDERFUL WORLD: Louis Armstrong wouldn't stay silent in face of racism.
  • A WONDERFUL WORLD: Louis Armstrong wouldn't stay silent in face of racism.

The New Yorker's Jelani Cobb comments on NFL protests and the history of offense taken when African-Americans don't take the place assigned to them by whites and white leaders. Of course there's an Arkansas example and it ties neatly to our continuing examination of the progress made in Arkansas since the 1957 school crisis.

Sixty years ago, Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, became a flash point in the nascent civil-rights movement when Governor Orval Faubus refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Faubus famously deployed the state’s National Guard to prevent nine African-American students from attending classes at the high school. In the midst of the crisis, a high-school journalist interviewing Louis Armstrong about an upcoming tour asked the musician about his thoughts on the situation, prompting Armstrong to refer to the Arkansas governor as several varieties of “motherfucker.” (In the interest of finding a printable quote, his label for Faubus was changed to “ignorant plowboy.”) Armstrong, who was scheduled to perform in the Soviet Union as a cultural ambassador on behalf of the State Department, cancelled the tour—a display of dissent that earned him the scorn and contempt of legions of whites, shocked by the trumpeter’s apparent lack of patriotism. As the historian Penny Von Eschen notes in “Satchmo Blows Up the World,” a history of the American usage of black culture as a tool of the Cold War, students at the University of Arkansas accused Armstrong of “creating an issue where there was none,” and joined the procession of groups cancelling Armstrong’s scheduled concerts.

The free-range lunacy of Donald Trump’s speech on Friday night in Alabama, where he referred to Colin Kaepernick—and other N.F.L. players who silently protest police brutality—as a “son of a bitch,” and of the subsequent Twitter tantrums in which the President, like a truculent six-year-old, disinvited the Golden State Warriors from a White House visit, illustrates that the passage of six decades has not dimmed this dynamic confronted by Armstrong, or by any prominent black person tasked with the entertainment of millions of white ones. 

Here's a longer treatment of the Armstrong-Faubus matter by David Margolick in the New York Times.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Unemployment rate continues drop to new low

    The Arkansas unemployment rate in September was 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent the month before. It's a historic low.
    • Oct 19, 2018
  • Trump cheers criminal assault on reporter

    Did I miss coverage of this in the morning paper? Donald Trump, at a rally in Montana, praised Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte's criminal assault on a news reporter to raucous cheers. None dare call them a mob.
    • Oct 19, 2018
  • French Hill and the truth: He flunks four-way test

    Amid a spate of dishonest advertising in support of his re-election campaign, Republican Rep. French Hill led the downtown Rotary Club this week in recitation of Rotary's four-way test. The Hill campaign is failing it.
    • Oct 19, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation