By, Celli Arenas
Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975)
She is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful, sanguine, philanthropic, and talented women that ever lived. She is the marvelous Mme. Josephine Baker.
Baker was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess”. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine later became a citizen of France in 1937. She was fluent in both English and French.
Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) or to become a world-famous entertainer. Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in America, is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
She was once offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King in 1968, following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Baker, however, turned down the offer. She was also known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and received the French military honor, the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.”
Josephine Baker, made her mark in the Civil Rights Movement through her involvement with the March on Washington for Jobs, Justice and Freedom. Most are not aware, but in 1963, only one woman addressed the crowd, that was Josephine Baker.
Two women, Marian Anderson and Mahalia Jackson, sang, and Josephine Baker spoke for more than 20 minutes. Baker introduced the “Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” to herald women like Rosa Parks, whose arrest launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Myrlie Evers, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers; and Daisy Bates, NAACP of Arkansas President and advisor to the Little Rock Nine.
Her speech poignantly detailed her experiences with a segregated America and her commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.
Keep in touch with the “Cellibration” of Black History Month through my series of articles featuring notable people of African descent , here at www. cellibration.com.
Discover More: Josephine Baker : Civil Rights
Images: Google Images