Josephine Baker to be first Black woman to enter France’s Panthéon


Receiving the Légion d’honneur and the Croix de Guerre

The remains of Josephine Baker, a famed French-American dancer, singer and actor who also worked with the French resistance during the second world war, will be moved to the Panthéon mausoleum in November, according to an aide to President Emmanuel Macron.

It will make Baker, who was born in Missouri in 1906 and buried in Monaco in 1975, the first Black woman to be laid to rest in the hallowed Parisian monument.

“She was an artist, the first Black international star, a muse of the cubists, a resistance fighter during the second world war in the French army, active alongside Martin Luther King in the civil rights fight,” the petition says.

Another member of the campaign group, Pascal Bruckner, said Baker “is a symbol of a France that is not racist, contrary to what some media groups say”, as well as “a true anti-fascist”…

The Panthéon is a memorial complex for great national figures in French history from the world of politics, culture and science.

Josephine Baker was a significant African-American talent in dance, music and film in the United States. A brave anti-fascist fighter in the French Underground during World War 2. Activist in the US civil rights movement.