Louis Armstrong is born

Armstrong often stated in public interviews that he was born on July 4, 1900, a date that has been noted in many biographies.

Although he died in 1971, it wasn't until the mid-1980s that his true birth date of August 4, 1901 was discovered through the examination of baptismal records.

Armstrong was born into a very poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana, the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty in a rough neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, known as “Back of Town”, as his father, William Armstrong (1881–1922), abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and took up with another woman. His mother, Mary "Mayann" Albert (1886–1942), then left Louis and his younger sister Beatrice Armstrong Collins (1903–1987) in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times, his Uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother and her relatives, and saw his father only in parades.

He attended the Fisk School for Boys where he likely had his first exposure to Creole music. He brought in some money as a paperboy and also by finding discarded food and selling it to restaurants but it wasn’t enough to keep his mother from prostitution. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille. For extra money, he also hauled coal to Storyville, the famed red-light district, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala’s where Joe "King" Oliver performed and other famous musicians would drop in to jam.

For many years it was thought that Armstrong was born in New Orleans on July 4, 1900, a perfect day for the man who wrote the musical Declaration of Independence for Americans of this century. But the estimable writer Gary Giddins discovered the birth certificate that proves Armstrong was born Aug. 4, 1901. He grew up at the bottom, hustling and hustling, trying to bring something home to eat, sometimes searching garbage cans for food that might still be suitable for supper. The spirit of Armstrong's world, however, was not dominated by the deprivation of poverty and the dangers of wild living.

Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4, 1901. He was one of two children born to Willie Armstrong, a turpentine worker, and Mary Ann Armstrong, whose grandparents had been slaves. As a youngster, he sang on the streets with friends. His parents separated when he was five. He lived with his sister, mother, and grandmother in a rundown area of New Orleans known as "the Battlefield" because of the gambling, drunkenness, fighting, and shooting that frequently occurred there.