From today's New York Times:
Fifty years ago this week, all eyes were on Little Rock, Ark., where nine black students were trying, for the first time, to desegregate a major Southern high school. With fewer than 150 blacks, the town of Grand Forks, N.D., hardly figured to be a key front in that battle — until, that is, Larry Lubenow talked to Louis Armstrong.Armstrong's frank commentary on color and American culture — "The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell" — became national news. Read all about it:
On the night of Sept. 17, 1957, two weeks after the Little Rock Nine were first barred from Central High School, the jazz trumpeter happened to be on tour with his All Stars band in Grand Forks. Larry Lubenow, meanwhile, was a 21-year-old journalism student and jazz fan at the University of North Dakota, moonlighting for $1.75 an hour at The Grand Forks Herald.
Shortly before Mr. Armstrong's concert, Mr. Lubenow's editor sent him to the Dakota Hotel, where Mr. Armstrong was staying, to see if he could land an interview.