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  5. Joséphine Baker: the star of the Roaring Twenties, a figure in the resistance and the fight against racism, is entering the Pantheon.

Joséphine Baker: the star of the Roaring Twenties, a figure in the resistance and the fight against racism, is entering the Pantheon.

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Joséphine Baker: the star of the Roaring Twenties, a figure in the resistance and the fight against racism, is entering the Pantheon.

Sixth woman to enter the Pantheon, France is today paying a real tribute to this lady with an exceptional destiny.

Freda Joséphine McDonald (1906, St Louis - 1975, Paris), known as Joséphine Baker, was a true icon of the Roaring Twenties: star artist, lead dancer, actress, singer, she was immediately dubbed by the French public and adored by artists such as Cocteau, Cendrars, Colette and Simenon.

Intrepid, joyful, generous and warm, she played an important role in the Resistance during the Second World War as she was mobilized for the Red Cross and agent of counter-espionage. She later used her popularity to support women's rights and the cause of anti-racism and black emancipation.

Ultimately, it is her dream of universal brotherhood - and the adoption of her twelve children of all origins - that will make her a true "embodiment of the French spirit" according to a press release from the Presidency of the Republic.


Joséphine Baker will therefore be the sixth woman to receive this tribute from the Nation, after Sophie Berthelot, the physicist Marie Curie, Nobel Prize winner in physics and then in chemistry, the resistance fighters Germaine Tillion and Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and finally Simone Veil.

A popular tribute, like Joséphine Baker.

To allow as many people as possible to pay their respect - the National Center for Historic Monuments has announced that the Pantheon will be open to the public free of charge on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December. The Palais-Royal garden will host a giant portrait of the artist, accompanied by a quote from Jean Cocteau, a great admirer of Joséphine Baker.


A ceremony with a strong symbol.

The cenotaph which will be carried during the ceremony to the Pantheon will be filled with handles from the four lands dear to Joséphine Baker: the American city of Saint-Louis (Missouri), Paris, the castle of Milandes (Dordogne) where she installed the "rainbow tribe ”of her twelve children of all origins and religions, and Monaco where she ended her life and where she rests.


All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice” Joséphine Baker.



 

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