Freda Josephine Baker: A Brief Biography Of Josephine Baker
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While Josephine Baker was a bit scandalous, her importance should not be overlooked because she did much more than perform. She was awarded military honors, served in World War II, and was an advocate for equality and peace.
Josephine Baker was born on June 3rd, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. Her real name was Freda Josephine McDonald, which she changed when she married Willie Baker, whose last name she kept for the rest of her life, even when she got divorced. Her father left, and in order to support he mother and siblings, she babysat for white families, before running away from home at age 13 to find work as a waitress. She got married, and was divorced at 15.
She soon took up dancing, practicing in clubs and street performances. In 1919 she toured the United States performing humorous skits with the Dixie Steppers and the Jones Family Band. She tried to join the Dixie Steppers in a production called Shuffle Along, but was rejected because she was “too skinny and too dark.” This did not deter Josephine, and she learned…show more content… She also started adopting children of all ethnicities, calling them her “Rainbow Tribe.” In 1963 she spoke at the March on Washington, saying this very important quote. “You must get an education. You must go to school, and you must learn to protect yourself. And you must learn to protect yourself with the pen, and not the gun.” She was the only woman to address the audience. In 1973, she performed at Carnegie Hall, although she was nervous about how she would be reviewed. Josephine received applause before the her performance even began. It was so touching that she wept onstage. On April 8, 1975, Josephine performed at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see Josephine (Now 68) perform a mix of routines from her career of 50 years. The reviews were among her best ever. Days later, however, Josephine