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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Josephine Baker: Un Destin Extraordinaire

Salle Saint-Martin / Souillac / Art

Josephine Baker was known as the “Black Venus,” the “Black Pearl,” and the “Creole Goddess,” but her beginnings were not lofty. She was born in St. Louis in 1906, the daughter of former slaves. A deeply impoverished childhood led to a short first marriage at 13, a second at 15, and her beginnings in vaudeville. At 19, Baker shipped to Paris, where she captivated the City of Light. Two years later, she became the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture—the silent film Siren of the Tropics (1927). Baker toured Europe, but always returned to France. When war broke out, she fought for her adopted country, and was later named a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. Baker died in 1975, almost 50 years ago, and as of last year is buried in Vault XIII in the crypt of the Panthéon. This retrospective celebrates her extraordinary life. —E.C.

Salle Saint-Martin Pl. Saint-Martin, 46200 Souillac, France
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