Josephine Baker is the first black woman to receive the honors of a Paris funeral
PARIS (AP) – The remains of American-born singer and dancer Joséphine Baker will be reburied at the Pantheon monument in Paris, making the artist who is a hero of World War II in France the first black woman to achieve the highest honor in the country.
Le Parisien newspaper reported on Sunday that French President Emmanuel Macron had decided to hold a ceremony on November 30 at the Paris monument, which houses the remains of scientist Marie Curie, French philosopher Voltaire, writer Victor Hugo and d ‘other French luminaries.
The presidential palace confirmed the newspaper’s information.
After her death in 1975, Baker was buried in Monaco, dressed in a French military uniform with the medals she received for her role in the French Resistance during the war.
Baker will be the fifth woman to be honored with a Pantheon burial and will also be the first artist.
Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, one of France’s most revered politicians, was buried in the Pantheon in 2018. The other women are two who fought with the French Resistance in WWII – Germaine Tillion and Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz – and Nobel Prize winners. chemist Curie.
The monument also holds the remains of 72 men.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Baker became a megastar in the 1930s, most notably in France, where she moved in 1925 as she sought to flee racism and segregation in the United States.
Baker quickly rose to fame for his “banana skirt” dance routines and wowed audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and later at the Folies Bergère in Paris.
She became a French citizen after her marriage to industrialist Jean Lion in 1937.
During World War II, she joined the French Resistance. Amid other assignments, she gathered information from German officials she met at parties and carried messages hidden in her underwear to England and other countries, using her star status to justify his travels.
A civil rights activist, in 1963 she participated in the March on Washington for jobs and freedom alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.