A page of Black History: the story of Josephine Baker, an international hero

Roxana Anton

"As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s important to remember that we shouldn’t treat this month as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history. Black history is American history."

-Barack Obama, Twitter

In today's article, you can find the story of one of the most fabulous representatives of the black revolution and culture: Josephine Baker.

She was and remains a notable icon for each artist in show business, with a stunning voice that resembles the French national singer, Edith Piaf. Josephine was, among other things, an activist for human rights and a Resistance figure during World War II. (source: Wikipedia)

In 1927, the American-born emigrated to Paris became the highest-paid performer in Europe. (source: http://hemingwaysparis.blogspot.com/)

Recently (November 2021), France officially considered Joséphine Baker a national hero. (source: BBC News)

She’s the first black woman to be remembered in the resting place of France’s national heroes, through her work on civil rights and for the Resistance during the Second World War. (source: BBC News)

Baker is also the first person born in the US to receive this honor. (source: ABC News)

Freda Josephine McDonald was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1906. At the age of 8, she started working as a maid of color in white houses. (source: Wikipedia)

After reaching a form of success in the USA, Baker emigrated to France, Europe, at the age of only 19. She was already a showgirl, dancer, singer, and vaudeville performer.

She is recognized today as a representative of the Afro-American culture in France, received every possible recognition for her huge talent, determination, and large contribution to arts, culture, and civil rights. (source: ABC News)

After a while, Josephine Baker became the most famous American artist working in France.

Baker performed the "Danse Sauvage" wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas.

Her success coincided (1925) with the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, which gave birth to the term "Art Deco", and also with a renewal of interest in non-Western forms of art, including African. (source: Wikipedia)

After a long contribution to the French resistance in World War II, Baker was awarded the Resistance Medal by the French Committee of National Liberation, the Croix de Guerre by the French military, and was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

She also adopted eleven children.

Between the Fifties and the Sixties, Baker was a strong activist against racism in the USA.

If you want a taste of this incredible, genius woman, you can watch the recordings available and a few films she appeared in: the silent film Siren of the Tropics (1927), Zouzou (1934), Princesse Tam Tam (1935). (source: Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and television)

Comments / 158

Published by

I bring you news of general interest from trustful sources. Freelance writer, translator, and novelist.

4899 followers

More from Roxana Anton

Comments / 0