Dancing her way through hatred


Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

Josephine Baker is an influential person who fights for equality for both the LGBTQ+ and Black communities.

Azucena Gomez, Staff writer

Josephine Baker was an American- born French renowned performer, War World II spy, and activist, representing both LGBTQ+ and Black causes.  She was born on June 3, 1906 in St. Louis Missouri. Her parents were both entertainers but their careers never really took off.

Baker ended up having to look for different jobs to make money. She used to dance on the streets for money until an African theater troupe had their eyes on her.

At the age of 15, she started performing with the group and actually got married during that time. She has always been an amazing dancer and danced in a lot of Vaudeville shows which was a popular theater genre in that time period. She then moved to New York.

A few years later she became so successful that her career took her to Paris. Baker was so well known for her dancing style and costumes. She followed African styles and themes in her dances.

During WWII, she joined the fight against the Nazis, helping the French by passing secrets she heard while she performed for the enemies. She would write the secrets with invisible ink on music sheets. She ended up moving back to the United States after performing in Paris for so many years.

In the United States, Baker had to deal with discrimination and segregation, something she hadn’t faced since she was a child, but it worked both ways. She refused to perform to segregated audiences, too.

Baker was honored by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and she was one of the only women to be able to speak during the March for Jobs and Freedom.

She spoke about her life as a black woman living in the United States. “You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad.”

She fought for racial injustices up to the 1970s, and, in her lifetime, she adopted 13 children from different countries around the world, she called them her rainbow family.

Baker performed until 1975, earning a standing ovation at her last show, but that April, at the age of 68, she passed away due to a stroke. If you would like to know more about this amazing woman, check out Becauseofthemwecan.com.

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