First Black Woman to be Honored with Paris Burial
The remains of American-born singer and dancer Josephine Baker will be buried at the Panthéon monument in Paris, making the entertainer the first Black woman to get the country’s highest honor.
- Le Parisien newspaper reported that French President Emmanuel Macron decided to organize a ceremony on November 30 at the Paris monument.
- Baker was buried in Monaco in 1975, dressed in a French military uniform with the medals she received for her role as part of the French Resistance during the war.
- Baker will be the fifth woman to be honored with a Panthéon burial and will also be the first artist.
- Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Baker became a megastar in the 1930s, especially in France.
- In 1925 she moved to France seeking to flee racism and segregation in the United States.
- She became famous for her “banana skirt” dance routines and wowed audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and later at the Folies Bergère in Paris.
- In 1937 she became a French citizen after her marriage to industrialist Jean Lion.
- During WWII, she joined the French Resistance.
- She took part in 1963 in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who made his “I Have a Dream” speech.