Tuesday. 25.06.2024

Known worldwide as an entertainer and in France as a freedom fighter, Josephine Baker is to find her final resting place at the Paris Pantheon on Tuesday.

The late dancer, singer and icon of the Roaring Twenties will be the first black woman to the interred at the site, known as the nation's temple. There she joins some of the greatest names in French history, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Simone Veil and Marie Curie.

Seventy-five men and just five women have been laid to rest at the Pantheon. Decades after her death, Baker will become the sixth.

Her remains will be reinterred in a one-hour ceremony attended by relatives and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Born in the Missouri city of St Louis in 1906, Baker later came to personify the jazz style and was known for her wild dancing style. Dressed only in a banana skirt, she would enthrall audiences at the Theatre des Champs Elysees.

A French heroine

Baker was also a French national heroine.

During World War II, she first worked for the Red Cross, then in the resistance. For this, she was awarded the Legion of Honour, France's highest order of merit.

Later, she campaigned alongside Martin Luther King against racism in her native America. After her death in 1975, she was buried in Monaco.

Josephine Baker to be inducted into Paris Pantheon as 1st black woman