Had Armstrong been born white and privileged, his achievement would have been extraordinary; that he was born black and in desperately deprived circumstances makes his success almost miraculous. Armstrong achieved this astonishing breakthrough largely by the sheer force of his personality.
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His humor revealed an irreverent man with a distinctly black point of view. On “You’re Drivin’
Me Crazy,” from 1930, Armstrong stops the band momentarily to chide their sloppy performance. One musician answers, in a typical stuttering minstrel style, “Aw, Pops, w-we j-just m-muggin’ lightly.” Armstrong starts to answer in that stuttering style, too, then catches himself. “Aw, man, now you got me talkin’ all that chop suey.” - The New Yorker