Josephine Baker

Topics: Josephine Baker, United States, World War II Pages: 3 (1014 words) Published: April 11, 2014
“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 have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood.” Josephine Baker, what an incredible woman. When thinking of Josephine, the first image that would pop up for most would be of her dancing to jazz in a banana skirt. A performance that gained her a lot of fame, but in truth she is so much more than that. Were talking about a woman who even though born into poverty and prejudice manage to live an amazingly extensive life, she was a dancer, a singer, a performer, a civil rights activist, a movie star, a spy, a wife, a mother. Born in the early 1900’s she blew every stereotype about blacks and women out of the water, living the type of life that most can only dream about.

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri. Josephine lived in poverty for much of her early life. Too add to that, she survived the St. Louis race riot of 1917, 40 blacks killed, and many more injured. So she decided to leave just a few years later at age 13. Trying to escape the terrible prejudice that she had grown up with, and follow a new love for dance. She moved to New York, and was part of the Harlem Renaissance, and in 1919 she was already touring the United States with the Dixie Steppers. It was in 1921 that she married a man named Willie Baker, although they Divorced years later she ended up keeping his last name for the rest of her life. Despite the success she was having here in the states, Josephine longed to have the same rights as others, and in 1925 at only 19 years old she did the unthinkable, and left the states. Later in an interview when asked how she felt at the time of leaving the U.S. she replied that she was very frightened, but she left St. Louis to find freedom. And so she did.

Josephine landed in Paris, and soon after got a gig in a...
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