Access to this e-course is restricted. For more information and access, please contact CCNMTL at


At the conclusion of this e-seminar, you will have a comprehensive sense of Louis Armstrong from:

  • his beginning in New Orleans;
  • his rise as a virtuoso cornetist, trumpeter and singer--the preeminent figure in the history of jazz music;
  • his role as a black male entertainer in a scene that was rife with demeaning stereotypes;
  • his activities as "Ambassador Satch", a beloved world traveler representing a United States of which at times, he could be sharply critical, and
  • his significance as an icon who still, thirty years after his death, is recognized and celebrated all over the earth.

Please read the entire contents of this page to learn about systems requirements and features of this seminar. You may want to print this page for your reference. You should also bookmark it because it will remain your entry point to the seminar for the time that the seminar is open to you.


This course is divided into three modules and contains a number of interactive elements to engage you as a participant in the course. Each module begins with a "Conversation Starter" which is a series of questions that provide a preview of the module's content. Forum questions will be provided to guide your exploration as you move through the rich resources we have provided. Once inside, you will find several clusters of information--text, video and audio footage--for you to consider.

In several sections, Forum questions will ask for your reflections on the resources you have perused. You can then post your response to the Course Forum where you can interact with your peers and instructor.

There are no required outside reading assignments. At the end of the seminar, Professor O'Meally has listed additional Web resources and a reading list of books for those students interested in further study of Louis Armstrong.

About Robert O'Meally:

Robert O'Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. He received his B.A. from Stanford (1970) and his Ph.D. from Harvard (1975). His major interests are African American literature, music, and painting. He has written extensively on Ralph Ellison, including The Craft of Ralph Ellison (Harvard, 1980), and a collection of papers for which he served as editor, New Essays on Invisible Man (Cambridge, 1989). Prof. O'Meally has written a biography of Billie Holiday entitled Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday and a documentary of the same name (which has been shown on public TV). He edited Tales of the Congaree (University of North Carolina, 1990), a collection of black folk tales; he co-edited a volume entitled History and Memory in African American Culture (Oxford, 1994). He is a co-editor of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. His new projects include a monograph on painting, literature, and jazz, Seeing Jazz (Smithsonian, 1997); a five CD set with booklet, Jazz Singers (Smithsonian, 1997); and an edition of essays, The Jazz Cadence of American Culture (Columbia, 1998).



Module I: The Early Years (1900-1923)
  1. Conversation Starter
  2. Module Content:
    1. Life in New Orleans
    2. Childhood Years
    3. Funeral Marches

Module II: The Great Louis Armstrong (1923-1946)

  1. Conversation Starter
  2. Module Content:
    1. Sideman Gigs
    2. Hot Five and Hot Seven
    3. Cultural Icon
  Module III: Pops Goes the World (1946-1971)
  1. Conversation Starter
  2. Module Content:
    1. International Persona
    2. Inner Life
    3. Joe Glaser
    4. Life with Lucille
    5. Pops and His Music
    6. Pops on Screen
    7. State of Culture and Race
    8. Insults and Modern Malice
    9. Later Recordings and Life




Technical Requirements

The following software, plug-ins and network connection are required to experience this site:

  1. Browser: Netscape versions 4.x up to 4.76, or Internet Explorer versions 4.x or later. Your browser must have JavaScript enabled and it must be set to accept cookies.
  2. Plug-in:
    • RealPlayer 7 or later
  3. Network Connection: The recommended minimum connection is 56K modem with throughput of 44Kbps or more. A faster connection is suggested.

If you do no have RealPlayer already installed, please download the plug-in from the following site: