Monday, February 9, 2009

Black History Month: Josephine Baker


I've heard of and have seen this particular poster of Josephine Baker, but I didn't know much about her life until watching Baker's life story in the movie, "The Josephine Baker Story", which was broadcast on HBO in1991. Lynn Whitfield played Baker, beating more than 500 actresses for the role, including Whitney Houston. The performance won her the Emmy for "Best Actress In A Mini-Series or Special". Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975) was an American expatriate entertainer and actress. She became a French citizen in 1937. Most noted as a singer, Baker also was a celebrated dancer in her early career. She was given the nicknames the "Bronze Venus" or the "Black Pearl", as well as the "Créole Goddess" in anglophone nations. In France, she has always been known as "La Baker".

Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, but turned it down), for assisting the French Resistance during the Second World War and being the first American-born woman to receive the highest French military honor, the Croix de Guerre, and for being an inspiration to generations of African American female entertainers and others.

It is always inspiring to learn about my history. BTW: She adopted 12 multi-ethnic orphans, whom she called the "Rainbow Tribe." That was her own way of protesting against racism.

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