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Louis Armstrong
[Louis Armstrong] 1932, Europe, also see Anton Bruehl, 1935.
August 4, 1901 (July 4, 1900)1 - July 6, 1971
Born in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, Louis Armstrong is considered to be the most important improviser in jazz and one of the most important influences on twentieth century music.
Although often claimed to be a freemason and a member of Montgomery Lodge No. 18, New York,2 there is no such lodge.3 Armstrong wrote in his autobiography that he was a member of a lodge of the Knights of Pythias.4

1.Cf. Louis Armstrong, an American genious. James Lincoln Collier. New York : Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN : 0-19-503377-9. hc. index. 383 p. for claims of an 1898 birthdate.
2.Notably in Celebration of the Craft, John Hamill, et al.. JG Press 1998. ISBN:1572152672.
3.The Masonic Philatelic Club Magazine, Issue No. 72, April 1996. p. 23, acting editor, Maurice Beazley. Excerpts from letters received from W. Bro. Joseph A. Walkes, Jr. [founder and president of the Phylaxis Society] regarding Louis Armstrong belonging to a masonic lodge. The first, dated 1992, reads:
"...no such Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York under the name of Montgomery Lodge No. 18. There is a Hiram Lodge No. 18, and this jurisdiction does not assign the same number twice to any other Lodge in it’s history."
In a subsequent letter received by Maurice Beazley in 1996, Bro Walkes writes:
"Armstrong may have very well belonged to one of the many "bogus" groups operating in New York City, and there are scores of them, at least six Grand Lodges, none recognized by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, he was not a member of the regular Prince Hall family."
4.Satchmo. My Life in New Orleans. New York : Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1954. LCN : 54-9628. hc. 240 p.. pp. 224-225: 'All the big, well known Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs turned out for the last big parade I saw in New Orleans. They all tried to outdo each other and they certainly looked swell. Among the clubs represented were The Bulls, The Hobgoblins, The Zulus, The Tammanys, The Young Men Twenties (Zutty Singleton’s club), The Merry-Go-Rounds, The Deweys, The Tulane Club, The Young Men Vidalias, The Money Wasters, The Jolly Boys, The Turtles, The Original Swells, The San Jacintos, The Autocrats, The Odd Fellows, The Masons, The Knights of Pythias (my lodge), and The Diamond Swells from out in the Irish Channel.' He later writes: 'One day a member of my club, The Tammany Social Aid and Pleasure Club, died.' [p. 163.]


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