Lifelong Learning Academy Presents “Little Satchmo: Living in the Shadow of My Father Louis Daniel Armstrong”

Thursday, March 24  USF Sarasota-Manatee

Sharon Preston-Folta steps into the spotlight for a candid talk about her life, her family and her father, jazz legend Louis Armstrong.


(Sarasota-Manatee, Florida) Lifelong Learning Academy (LLA) presents Sharon Preston-Folta, author of “Little Satchmo: Living in the Shadow of My Father, Louis Daniel Armstrong,” in a candid discussion about family history, legacy and growing up in secret as the child of one of the world’s most popular entertainers. The talk, part of Lifelong Learning Academy’s “Lecture Series,” is Thursday, March 24, 3-4:30 p.m., in Selby Auditorium at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Preston-Folta will also be available to autograph copies of her book after the lecture. $10 general admission; free to LLA members. No refunds. Purchased tickets are transferrable. To register, visit or call 941-359-4296. Walk-in registrations will be taken as space allows.

As the only child of jazz great Louis Armstrong, Sharon Preston Folta remained a secret to most of the world. The product of a decades-spanning affair between the married Armstrong and vaudeville dancer Lucille Preston, Sharon’s existence was kept secret in a move deemed necessary to preserve Armstrong’s reputation.

“Not knowing your family history is painful enough. Being forced to keep it a secret, to pretend you are not who you really are, well, that sears,” says Preston-Folta.

When Preston-Folta’s legacy was threatened with being relegated to a mere footnote in her family’s history, she made the decision to step out from the shadows of her famous father and make her story known. She teamed up with best-selling author Denene Milner to help her put it all into writing and the resulting chronicle, “Little Satchmo: Living in the Shadow of My Father Louis Daniel Armstrong,” was published in December 2012.

“I chose to tell my story because it’s about my legacy, I matter. My story is important.  I have every right to say who I am, to be proud of it,” writes Preston-Folta.

“While Sharon Preston-Folta’s story is extraordinary because of who her father was, it also strikes a universal chord touching upon generations of offspring who have grown up in fatherless households, searching for an understanding of their own blood, their own DNA, their own legacy,” says Janna Overstreet, executive director of Lifelong Learning Academy. “Little Satchmo is a powerful tale of identity, loss, and the search for love and truth.”

Lifelong Learning Academy offers four course terms annually. Each course lasts two to eight sessions; most classes meet for an hour and 20 minutes weekly. For more information about Lifelong Learning Academy, call 941-359-4296 or visit to view or request a catalog.