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Big Cheeks
 A grandson of
slaves, a boy was born in a poor neighborhood of New Orleans
known as the “Back of Town.”  His father
abandoned the family when the child
was an infant.  His mother became a prostitute and the
boy and his sister had to live with their grandmother.

Early in
life he proved to be gifted for music and with three other
kids he sang in the streets of New Orleans.  His first
gains were coins that were thrown to them.
A Jewish
family, Karnofsky, who had immigrated from Lithuania to the
USA , had pity for the 7-year-old boy and brought him into
their home. Initially giving ‘work’ in the house, to feed this hungry child.

There he
remained and slept 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 a Russian lullaby that
he would sing with her.  Later, he learned to sing and
play several Russian and Jewish songs.  Over time, this
boy became the adopted son of this family.

 The Karnofskys gave him money to buy his first musical
instrument; as was the custom in the Jewish families.
They sincerely admired his musical talent.

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 and wrote a book about this Jewish family
who had adopted him in 1907.  In memory of
this family and until the end
of his life, he wore a star of David and said that in this
family, he had learned “how to live real life and

You might recognize his name.  This little boy was called: Louis
“Satchmo” Armstrong.  Louis Armstrong proudly
spoke fluent Yiddish!  And “Satchmo” is Yiddish for “Big Cheeks”!!!

And I bet you did not know any of this.


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