Josephine Baker

Who is She?

Josephine Baker was a woman full of incredible talent based on singing and dancing and a civil rights activist who inspired others in many ways.Freda Josephine Baker was an American French dancer, singer, and actress. She spent most of her childhood in poverty before she achieved success on Broadway. Josephine Baker became a famous dancer and singer in France during the 1920s. Through the 1950s and 1960s, she helped fight segregation and racism in the United States while working with the French resistance during World War II.

Josephine Baker’s Early Years

June 3, 1906, was the birthdate of Josephine Baker in St. Louis, Missouri. Carrie McDonald’s mother gave up her dreams of becoming a music hall dancer to support her family. Her father, Eddie Carson, he was a vaudeville drummer. He abandoned Josephine and her mother, Carrie, after Josephine was born. Soon after, Josephine’s mother, Carrie, remarried and had several more children. In order to help support her family, at age 8, Josephine cleaned houses and babysat for wealthy white famines, often being treated poorly. At age 15, Josephine ran away from home and started working at a waitress club, where she met her first husband named Willie Wells who she divorced weeks later. Josephine Baker took up dancing around this time, honing her skills in clubs and street performances. By 1919 she was touring the United States with the Jones Family Band and the Dixie Steppers. In 1921, Josephine married Willie Baker. In 1923, Baker landed a role in a musical “Shuffle Along”.  Which made her popular with audiences. Josephine Baker moved to New York City and was soon performing during The Harlem Renaissance becoming a crowd favorite. 1925 was the peak of France’s obsession with Jazz, Baker traveled to Paris to perform and made an immediate impression on French audiences.

Contemporaries Awards and Social Involvement

Josephine Baker’s career reached a significant turning point. In a performance where she danced while wearing a skirt made of only 16 bananas. Josephine Baker was among the most popular and highest-paid performers in Europe and earned herself nicknames like “Black Venus” and “Black Pearl.” In 1930 she landed film roles as a singer in Zou-Zou and Princesse Tam-Tam. money she earned from her performance allowed her to purchase an estate in Castelnaud-Fayrac. In 1936, Josephine Baker returned to the United States to perform hoping to establish herself as a performer in her home country. She was met with a generally hostiliy and racisim. Josephine Baker worked for Red Cross against the Nazis during the occupation of France. She worked for the French Resistance, sometimes smuggled messages hidden in her sheet music and underwear. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour for these efforts at the war’s end, with the rosette of the resistance, two of France’s highest military honors. During the 1950s, Josephine Baker returned to the United States to support the Civil Rights Movement. She participated in demonstrations and boycotted segregated clubs and concert venues. In 1963, Baker participated, wih Martin Luther King Jr., in the March on Washington and was one of the notable speakers that day. In honor of her efforts, the NAACP eventually named May 20 “Josephine Baker Day.” In 1973, Baker performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and was greeted with a standing ovation. The show was a huge success and marked Baker’s return to the stage.


Baker spent most of her time at Les Milandes. In 1947, she married French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, and in 1950 began to adopt babies from around the world. She adopted 12 children in all, creating what she referred to as her “rainbow tribe” and her “experiment in brotherhood.” She demonstrated that people of different races could coexist harmoniously. “Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than the skin tone when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one’s soul when birth places weight a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood.” – Baker. Baker continued to perform and speak out against discrimination until her death on April 12, 1975, in Paris, France. She remains a cultural icon and an inspiration to many people worldwide. In conclusion, Josephine Baker was a fantastic artist, performer, mother, and above. She exhibited excellent leadership skills and displayed being a unique artist to me. Josephine Baker has always been an influential artist to me. She is one artist that I have continuously researched, and I took the time to understand a deeper connection to her story.

Meaningful Message and Summary of Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an entertainer, dancer, and civil rights activist who used her fame and influence to promote messages of equality and social justice. Through her performances and activism, she challenged traditional notions of race, gender, and sexuality, and advocated for greater understanding and acceptance of diversity and difference. One of the most meaningful messages of Josephine Baker is the importance of using one’s voice and platform to effect positive change in the world. Baker was a tireless advocate for civil rights and racial justice, and she used her fame and influence to speak out against prejudice and discrimination. Her activism serves as a powerful reminder that each of us has a responsibility to use our talents and resources to make the world a better place, and that we all have the power to effect change in our own communities and beyond. Another meaningful message of Josephine Baker is the importance of celebrating and embracing diversity. Throughout her career, Baker celebrated the rich diversity of African American culture, and she incorporated elements of this culture into her performances in order to challenge traditional notions of beauty and art. Her example reminds us of the importance of valuing and respecting the diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives that make up our global community, and of the power of art to transcend boundaries and bring people together.

Josephine Baker’s life story is a remarkable journey of resilience, talent, and activism. Her legacy continues to inspire generations across the globe, serving as a symbol of the fight against racism and for the dignity of all people.


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