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As America’s jazz icon, Louis Armstrong was seen as a smiling, easygoing entertainer. But in 1957, he invited controversy by speaking forcefully on behalf of his fellow African Americans, putting him in a position familiar to many Black athletes today.
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When N.F.L. players, starting with Colin Kaepernick, took a knee during the National Anthem to protest they ignited an uproar over injecting politics onto the playing field.