Josephine Baker becomes the first black woman to be honored at the Pantheon in Paris

Legendary artist Josephine Baker will be honored Tuesday at the Pantheon in Paris, where she will be the first black woman to be memorialized, as well as the first US-born figure and artist to be honored.

Baker, who died in 1975, began her career as a jazz player. When she moved to France in 1925, she continued to showcase her black heritage through her performances as she became immersed in French culture. As World War II gained momentum across Europe, Becker, who became a French citizen in 1937, offered her services to the French government, working as a spy and bringing other counter-intelligence officers into her work. according to French Ministry of DefenseShe continued her secret service during the war, when she refused to make offers to the Nazis who occupied France.

Josephine Baker with army officers during the ceremony at which he was awarded the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with palms on August 19, 1961. AFP via Getty Images

Constructed in the 18th century, the Pantheon is a symbol of France’s history, with 72 men and five women honored for their accomplishments by France and its citizens. According to tradition, the symbolic casket of Baker will be moved to the Rue Soufflot in Paris to the memorial. The casket contains the soils of four inhabited places: St. Louis, Missouri; Paris; Not Meland in the south of France; and Monaco.

French President Emmanuel Macron will speak, and Baker’s children will read excerpts from some of her most famous speeches. A video highlighting Baker’s life will be shown, and the children’s choir will perform.

The Pantheon in Paris. Stefan Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

Baker and other black American artists and intellectuals were drawn to Europe to escape racism in the United States, especially in the early 20th century. Mabula Somahoro, associate professor at the University of Tours in France, said black Americans in particular were associated with strength and respect for the United States because of its war efforts in France during World War I and World War II. As a result, the French people generally welcomed black Americans.

“It’s not just about race,” said Somahoro, who focuses on U.S., African American, and Afrikaans studies. “It is not just about black. She was a black American. So the status she achieved in France was both possible and impossible in the United States.” But Somahoro said the black population in the French colonies would “never reach this level of success” in France.

Josephine Baker circa 1970.David Redfern/Redferns

Julie Brown, journalist, gives tourists a historical glimpse into Baker’s life through her company, Soul Walking Tourswhich focuses on exploring the history and culture of blacks in Paris. The path that followed Becker’s life includes locations such as the Château des Milandes, where Becker raised her children, and Madeleine’s Chapel, the site of her state funeral in 1975. Brown said Becker’s black and French identities contributed to her cultural influence and made her “global.” the shape.”

“It’s really on both sides, because black is so important to the progress you want to have for the black community,” Brown said, “but on the other side, there is a universal aspect to being an artist that has an impact in everything you do, as with the military. You embodied, as You know, that liberty, and freedom, and quality, and brotherhood, and has remained faithful to France, and all that it has done and French values.”

Becker’s performance quality was bold, and her style influenced other women regardless of their race. As a cultural icon, Baker encouraged more women to strive for liberation, including sexual freedom.

Josephine Baker in 1961.Holton Archive/Getty Images

Through her co-star, Baker was often in the presence of several royals, including Princess Grace of Monaco. In an interview with NBC News, Prince Albert recalled the gracious and friendly Becker, who had forged a great friendship with his mother. She helped Albert Baker’s family through times of financial hardship while helping her perform again after a break. I watched Albert Baker perform in her later years on a live show in 1974, where he said, “her beauty and radiance are still there” and “it was a pleasure to be able to watch.”

Besides being an entertainer, artist, and activist, Baker has also been involved in humanitarian efforts. Her 12 adopted children are referred to as the “Rainbow Tribe”, as they all come from different nationalities and ethnic groups. Eleven of her children are still alive, one of whom is Akio Balon, who said his mother has constantly donated her time, resources and money to help those in need.

Josephine Baker and Commander Joe Bouillon at their wedding ceremony at the chapel of Castel Melandes in Castelnau-la-Chapelle, France, on June 3, 1947.AFP via Getty Images

“She wanted the world to be better,” Ballon said. “That was her purpose in life.”

Baker’s legacy lives on through those who continue to inspire her, such as Rosemary Phillips, the Caribbean jazz singer, songwriter, and actress who incorporates Baker’s dance routine into her own shows.

Phillips, who lives in France, also owns one of the Baker properties, Le Parc de Josephine Baker in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, which she and her boyfriend plan to get back. During Baker’s life, the property has hosted concerts and conferences while attracting people from all over the world, from famous musicians to children who have stayed in the park through the Baker Scholarship Program.

Baker’s young and philanthropic spirit lives on through Phillips’ vision, which includes using the property as a cultural venue that was once for artists in dance, music and film.

Since she took over the property, Phillips has hosted concerts, master classes, and fundraisers for children with disabilities. She also uses it at festivals, and plans to hold art exhibitions. Through its activities, Phillips continues Baker’s dream of overlooking people’s differences and uniting the world through artistic expression.

“She was really ahead of her time,” Phillips said. “So it was a really big project that made the world a better place before he left.”

Continued NBCBLK employment Facebook social networking siteAnd Twitter And Instagram.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Related posts