A young boy, the grandson of slaves, was born in a poor neighborhood of New Orleans. His father abandoned the family when the child was an infant. His mother became a prostitute and the boy and his sister went to live temporarily with their grandmother.
He soon proved to be musically gifted and began singing in the streets for coins.
A Jewish family, named Karnofsky, who had emigrated from Lithuania to the USA, took pity on the 7-year-old boy and brought him into their home where he initially did some housework for them. There he remained, sleeping in this Jewish family's home where, for the first time in his life, he was treated with kindness and tenderness.
When he went to bed, Mrs. Karnovsky sang him Russian lullabies that he would sing with her. He learned to sing several Russian and Jewish songs.
In time, he was adopted by the family, and the Karnofskys gave him money to buy his first musical instrument, as was the custom in Jewish families.
Later, when he became a professional musician and composer, he used these Jewish melodies in compositions such as “St. James Infirmary” and “Go Down Moses.”
The little black boy grew up, wrote a book about this Jewish family, and in their memory, wore a Star of David most of his life. He said that with them he had learned "how to live real life, with determination."
You might recognize his name: Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong proudly spoke fluent Yiddish! And "Satchmo" is Yiddish for "Big
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