Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2021 Leo Posel. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department


This paper examines the many meanings and implications of Louis Armstrong’s role in the Jazz Ambassadors program, and his tours of West and Central Africa in the 1950’s and 60’s. Specifically, I argue that musical evidence is crucially important in a comprehensive understanding of this program, as well as the politics of creating and consuming Black American music at this time. By relying on live recordings, documentary footage, and radio interviews as well as a rich historiography that relates this music with American Cold War culture, I demonstrate the underlying connections between Armstrong’s performances and American notions of race, diaspora, and community that lie both against and beyond an analysis of state power.

Included in

History Commons