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Josephine Baker (6-3-06 to 4-12-75) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, she became a citizen of France in 1937. Fluent in English/French, Baker became an int'l musical and political icon. She is also noted for her contributions to the US Civil Rights Movement and for assisting the French Resistance during World War II: receiving the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.

Josephine Baker by Black History Album, via Flickr

Josephine Baker - She was best known for her exotic banana dance in a Parisian nightclub in the 1930's. She was also known for her "rainbow tribe" - she adopted a child of every race - well before Angelina Jolie....

Josephine Baker in La Joie de Paris, 1932-33

Josephine Baker. A very beautiful woman with a beautiful heart full of love.

Josephine Baker In Her Dressing Room by Black History Album, via Flickr

Portrait of Josephine Baker with Chiquita by Studio PIAZ, 1931

During World War II, Josephine Baker served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance movement. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded honor of the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946.

Black Hollywood: Prinsesse Tam-Tam by Black History Album, via Flickr

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels & dimes. She became a chorus girl on the St. Louis stage. At 15 she married a Pullman porter named Baker, but left him when she ran away at age 17, because of racial discrimination. She made her way to Paris, France. In 1937 she had renounced her American citizenship, disgusted by the blatant & official racism against blacks, & became a citizen of France