Joséphine Baker, originally from Saint-Louis, celebrated in France and at home

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ST. LOUIS – Joséphine Baker was inducted into the Pantheon of France on Tuesday, becoming the first black woman to receive the highest national honor.

The artist and civil rights activist was also celebrated in her hometown of Saint-Louis. The Missouri History Museum paid tribute to his life at an event Tuesday night.

“She’s so full of life and love and it really stands out in her singing and dancing,” said Lindsay Newton, director of education at the Missouri Historical Society.

Born in the Mill Creek area in 1906, Baker moved to France later in his life to escape racial discrimination. In Paris, she finds a home and a stage. There she became famous not only for her talents but for her activism.

She became an anti-Nazi spy during WWII, fighting for the French Resistance with shared secrets in invisible ink on her sheet music.

Even when she traveled the world, St. Louis never forgot her. The city declared Josephine Baker Day on November 30.

“Josephine proudly put St. Louis on the map in the most powerful and profound way, taking these values ​​that we celebrate with her no matter how far she has risen or how famous she has become,” Mayor Tishaura Jones said. “And what a star she was.”

Prince Albert of Monaco also sang his praises.

“Even though we celebrate and commemorate her with this immense honor of being accepted into the Pantheon in Paris, her body will remain here in Monaco,” Prince Albert said. “So I think it was important to recognize that and, you know, to reiterate the length that existed between Monaco and Josephine Baker.”

Back in St. Louis, a crowded auditorium at the Missouri History Museum is in awe of her impressive accomplishments, bringing a complete moment to the St. Louis actress, singer, activist and daughter.


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