HERO IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
Josephine Baker was a legendary singer, dancer,
and actress. She was also a campaigner in her later
years for the civil rights movement. Josephine has
an interesting heroic story that began on June 3,
1906. She was a great person and a hero for all.
Freda Josephine McDonald was born in St. Louis Missouri,
1906. Her mother is Carrie McDonald. Her father is still a
mystery. When Josephine was 8 years old she was sent to
work in service. If she did one of her chores wrong her
employers would abuse her. She finally decided enough
was enough and left her work. Josephine had suffered
from racism. She was eleven when she left her home for
good. She slept on the streets and scavenged for food.
She danced on the street to earn money for food. She was
soon found and was hired to perform.
HER STAR YEARS
By the time Josephine was fifteen she had found her way to
New York and was performing on Broadway. In 1925 she
had the chance to tour Europe. Josephine went to France
and fell in love with it after a performance she had to do
called "Theater des Champs Elysees". Because of all the
abuse back in her home she had decided to make France
her home. In the 1930s she had become a singer too. When
she was doing this she recorded many songs. Josephine had
some movie success but left to tour the Americas also in the
1930s. She received no abuse, just love of her performances.
JOSEPHINE'S WAR YEARS
During World War 2 Josephine felt like she should help her adopted
home country. So she went to be a Resistance Spy and a "honorable
correspondent". Josephine had a role to gather information that she
might overhear in theaters or at parties in her role as a host or
entertainer, and passing the information on to the authorities. She
was still a dancer and entertainer so she had more reasons to move
around the country of Europe so no one would question her.
Josephine also had to sneak in secret codes and messages to France
without getting caught. This was done on the sheets of music she
used for her performances. She also helped people in France escape
from being hurt by the Nazis, again risking her safety to do it.
JOSEPHINE'S CAMPAIGN FOR
Although Josephine gave up her U.S citizenship in
1937, she still wanted to help. In 1950 she was a
fierce campaigner. Many people were calling her
names but that only added more fuel to her fire.
Josephine refused to perform for segregated
audiences. But later Josephine performed for
people who had removed racism from their state.
Josephine was not able to give birth so she adopted 12 children that were
all different races to prove that all races can live together in peace. In
1963 she spoke in favor of Martin Luther King. She was the only woman to
speak there. Her speech was: “I have walked in the palaces of Kings and
Queens and in the houses of Presidents. But I could not walk into a hotel
in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad. And when I
get mad, you know, I open my big mouth. And then you know, look out,
‘cos when Josephine opens her big mouth they hear it all over the world. I
am not a young woman now, friends. My life is behind me. There is too
much fire burning inside me. Before it goes out I want you to use what is
left to light the fire inside of you…". Josephine spoke again in the
following year in New York. Mrs. Baker encouraged families to come
listen. Her speech was all about how everyone should be treated equal.
JOSEPHINE'S FINAL ACTS
Josephine worked the rest of her life, never slowing down
and losing the pace. She did change the dancing acts to
slower songs. In 1975 she went to the "Bobino" in Paris to
celebrate the fifty years of being a performer. On the 4th
night she had gone to bed but when Josephine woke up
she saw newspapers surrounding her for the reviews of
her performances. Mrs. Baker had sadly suffered from a
stroke and had passed away later that day at age 65, on
August 12, 1975. Josephine Baker was an amazing person
and did many amazing things.
Josephine was a hero because she helped more
than one country. She helped her adopted home
country in World War 2 and helped campaign for
civil rights in her home country.
WHY I CHOSE HER
Josephine Baker helped numerous countries even
though her home country (America) was horrible
to her in childhood. She had thought that
segregation was horrible and wanted to help stop
it. She also helped her adopted home (France) in
World War 2. She lived a full life and danced
through all the bad.
Josephine Baker had a full life. She did many
amazing things in her 65 years of life. Josephine
was helping her country with war, she was a
legendary entertainer, and she adopted 12
children to prove that all races can be together.
She was an amazing person and did everything
she could to help.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Google provided pictures.
greatblackheroes.org provided the information.